Hill Close Gardens
Plincke researched and developed the first proposal for Hill Close Gardens restoration back in 1999. With the help of grant funding from the HLF and other local sponsors a £2.5 million scheme was completed in 2007 including the restoration and improvements to gardens to provide better accessibility. A new visitor centre, by Design Engine Architects and Giffords Engineers, is a landmark sustainable building.
The landscape scheme relied on strong community support with several public consultations held regarding different elements of the project. The planting of the gardens are being developed by a team of committed volunteers under the guidance of a permanent head gardener. Plincke advised upon the formation of the Trust, which now manages the site after its transfer from local authority ownership.
Hill Close Gardens are one of a handful of surviving detached Victorian pleasure gardens in the UK. During the Victorian period they were a common feature of the urban landscape, as the explosion of interest in horticulture and increased leisure time lead to the creation of numerous sites for rent by the new middle class, who used them for relaxation and recreation rather than food production.