In 1988 when I was in my late 20’s, I was commissioned by Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council to write a management plan for some meadows along the Rae Brook in Shrewsbury. I’d recently moved to the area from Greater Manchester, where I’d spent some fantastic years working on the progressive (for the time) Mersey Valley Countryside Project. When I pushed my way through the over-grown meadows along the Rae Brook, I realised that they could do much more than restore a few wildflower meadows, so I offered them a management plan for establishing an urban country park instead. They readily accepted and I ended-up devoting the next 3-years to making the Rae Brook Valley Country Park a reality. This wasn’t hard – it had the enthusiastic support of the Leisure Services and Planning departments as well as the Civic Society and local Wildlife Trust. In addition it attracted cross party support among councilors – it was easy for all to see how the project would enhance the townscape and be widely enjoyed and appreciated.
During the 14 years I have lived in Iffley Fields, I have often reflected back on those days and wondered if something similar was possible along the Isis corridor and what a river-corridor project might look like a generation on from when they were last given serious planning thought.