Works have been completed on the A62 Leeds Road Corridor – and there’s been praise for landscaping and planting alongside the new-look road.

A 2km stretch of Leeds Road, between Old Fieldhouse Lane and Huddersfield Ring Road, has seen major changes designed to cut congestion and make it easier for people who want to walk, cycle or catch the bus instead of using the car.

Changes have been made to traffic signals and crossings, the gyratory has been removed from the junction with Great Northern Street and there are improved cycle lanes and bus shelters.

One of the most striking features of the new-look road has been the landscaping and planting, in contrast to many roadside grass verges around Kirklees which are allowed to grow wild and are mowed less often.

The A62 Leeds Road Corridor improvement scheme included almost a hectare of what the council described as “green infrastructure” which included the planting of verges, new trees and a sustainable drainage system.

The landscaping was carried out by Lepton-based J Paxman Landscapes and 10,000 plants and shrubs were planted along with 25,000 crocus, narcissus, bluebell and snowdrop bulbs and 100 trees.

The scheme was funded through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin said before the start of work that landscaping improvements would be a key part of the scheme.

She promised the “removal of tarmac where it has become unnecessary” with more trees and planting to encourage wildlife.

Elsewhere, council cuts have meant planting has been stripped out of roadside verges and retired council gardener Peter Fawcett has been a long-time critic of what he calls the council’s “de-greening” policy which has also hit parks and gardens.

But Mr Fawcett has welcomed the work carried out in Leeds Road and said: “It looks great.

“But, more than that, there has been a wise choice of plants which were obviously chosen by someone with a good understanding of horticulture. It’s very much a continental-style design. It really is excellent work and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Grass has been replaced by a yellow groundcover plant called ‘stonecrop’ and purple-flowered hebe also catch the eye. Other planting includes hedera, pachysandra and artemisia.

Mr Fawcett (above) , a council gardener for 32 years, added: “The use of stonecrop in place of grass in the central reservations, in particular, is worthy of note.”

In a blog post on its website, Paxman said the planting scheme had been a year in the making, from the contract growing of plants to final completion, and the work had been carried out “meticulously.”

It added: “An absolute credit to the J Paxman Landscape team, the results are incredibly impressive. Managing access and the perils of roadside planting, the team planted over 100 standard trees (alnus, quercus, acer campestre) and 10,000 shrubs and herbaceous perennials.

“Every area was stripped, prepared, planted and mulched for weed suppression and healthy establishment.”

There were concerns over whether the new landscaping would be properly maintained going forward but those fears have been allayed with the council confirming that Paxman has a contract for another three years.

READ MORE: See the 40ft tall planters coming to New Street

Clr Graham Turner, the council’s Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The recent landscaping work on the A62 was carried out by Paxman Landscapes, funding for this project was provided through European funding, and will be maintained by them for three years as part of the contract.”

With work continuing to create a new ‘green street’ in New Street in the town centre, the council also confirmed that officers were in talks with Huddersfield BID over future maintenance of town centre planters.

Mr Fawcett added: “Landscaping, parks and gardens are so important and this could be a new beginning for Kirklees.”

This week Mr Fawcett was surprised to see what appeared to be POTATOES sprouting out of the compost in one of the new planters in New Street!