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No 6468

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Vol cxlvii No 34

pp. 563–584


Report of the Council on a viewing and interpretation structure at the Botanic Garden

The Council begs leave to report to the University as follows:

1. The Botanic Garden is a Sub-department of the Department of Plant Sciences and is governed by a Syndicate which reports to the General Board. The primary functions of the Garden can be summarized as follows: the provision of facilities for teaching and research (undertaken by staff of the Garden and cognate Departments); the education of non-specialists from within the University and outside; the training of horticulturalists; and the provision of an amenity for the University and the City.

2. The Systematic Beds are located in the south-west corner of the Garden. They are one of the earliest features of the Garden and were designed in 1845 in the 'gardenesque' style by Andrew Murray, the first Curator of the Botanic Garden. The Systematic Beds occupy close to three acres and contain plants laid out in family groups in order to teach plant taxonomy.

3. The Botanic Garden has identified that the Systematic Beds are challenging for visitors to understand. A proposal has been developed to build a new structure formed of a gently rising path leading to a viewing platform located to the south of the Systematic Beds. The viewing platform will be at a height of approximately 3m allowing an overview, putting the layout of the Beds into context. Interpretation materials will also be provided. The footprint of the structure will be 198m2. The angle of slope will be shallower than 1:20 to provide access to the viewing platform for wheelchair users. The structure has been designed to minimize the impact on the Garden’s landscape and collections. The scheme has been developed using a Tree Constraints Plan to ensure tree collections around the location are protected.

4. The estimated cost of the project is £545,000, and is to be funded by the Botanic Garden. The project has been made possible by a grant from The Monument Trust.

5. Drawings of the proposed scheme are displayed for the information of the University in the Schools Arcade and are reproduced online at

6. The Council recommends:

I. That approval is given for the construction of a viewing and interpretation structure at the Botanic Garden.

II. That the Head of Estate Projects be authorized to accept a tender, within the available funding, for the proposed works in due course.

7 June 2017

L. K. Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor

Nicholas Gay

John Shakeshaft

Chad Allen

Nicholas Holmes

Susan Smith

Ross Anderson

Alice Hutchings

Sara Weller

Richard Anthony

Stuart Laing

I. H. White

R. Charles

Michael Proctor

Jocelyn Wyburd

Stephen J. Cowley

Philippa Rogerson