Is this roundabout a design disaster?

Story by MAGGIE GIBSON THEY wanted it to be a showcase for Wisbech but the designers of the makeover for Wisbech s Freedom Bridge roundabout say it is a disaster. Alan and Brenda Lay claim work carried out by Fenland District Council as part of the £15,00

Story by MAGGIE GIBSON

THEY wanted it to be a showcase for Wisbech but the designers of the makeover for Wisbech's Freedom Bridge roundabout say it is a disaster.

Alan and Brenda Lay claim work carried out by Fenland District Council as part of the £15,000 project is an insult to their abilities.

They also say the council has deviated from the original design by using the wrong type of boulders and cobbles instead of sand and gravel.


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The council agrees it has made some changes but says it will be another 12 months before the roundabout matures and flourishes.

Mrs Lay said: "We have had 30 years in landscape and design; we know what we are doing. This roundabout could look fabulous but they have ruined our design."

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The couple, who are both members of the Institute of Horticulture and have designed gardens for the prestigious Hampton Court Flower Show, worked on their plans for 18 months.

They used boats, anchors, chains, ropes and rocks together with an imaginative planting scheme to reflect the history of the town as a port.

Bob Ollier, the council's parks and open spaces manager, agrees there have been some small problems. "It is a very difficult roundabout and it has been an awful mess," he said. "It is not a project which can be done in two or three weeks."

He said test planting was under way to find out what plants would not be eaten or destroyed by the roundabout's rabbits.

Mr Ollier said: "I know Alan is not happy with the large boulders and I was horrified to see about half of them were not what we ordered. I have contacted the company and some of them will be exchanged. This is going to take time to sort out but we will get it sorted out. I have done an awful lot on this project and I am upset they feel like this."

Mr and Mrs Lay, of Beatrice Road, Wisbech, both resigned from Wisbech in Bloom in protest at the way their design has been interpreted. They have since withdrawn their resignations and said they will see the project through.

They are worried what impression the roundabout will make on the judges of the Anglia in Bloom competition who will be visiting the town soon.

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