Coleg Gwent art students draw inspiration from Newport Garden Village development


A Newport housing development’s beautiful landscaped setting is providing inspiration from the natural world for local art and design students.

Students from Coleg Gwent’s City of Newport Campus visited Loftus Garden Village – 250 homes being built by developer Lovell for affordable housing provider Pobl Group - as part of their BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design course.

The young artists met Pobl’s Frances Hope, the Village’s head gardener, and were given a tour of its stunning gardens which include a specially created impressive grassed ‘amphitheatre’ feature and imaginative planting designed to attract wildlife.

Housing developer Lovell, which is building the Loftus Garden Village scheme for Pobl Group, invited the Coleg Gwent students to the development and will turn construction hoardings at the site into an outdoor gallery where artwork inspired by their visit will be displayed. The initiative is the latest stage of a continuing collaboration between Lovell and the college which has seen art and design students’ work previously showcased at the housing development. Lovell is also helping Coleg Gwent construction students gain industry experience through work placements on the Loftus Garden Village scheme.

The collaboration with Coleg Gwent reflects Lovell’s drive to contribute to and benefit the wider community through its involvement with Pobl at Loftus Garden Village. “The ongoing relationship with Coleg Gwent is immensely important to us and part of the community focus which has run throughout the Loftus Garden Village development,” says Lovell community liaison officer Bernadette Vickery. “The students loved seeing the fantastic gardens which have been created at the development and their initial ideas look very exciting. We’re all looking forward to seeing the artworks that come out of their visit.”

Coleg Gwent lecturer Sian Dinham comments: “After the success of last year’s hoarding board project we were delighted to continue the collaboration with Lovell for a second year. Last year’s project focused on women in industry, the history of the site and some of the design influences behind the housing development. This year, the students are taking their inspiration from the fabulous communal gardens designed and managed by Frances Hope. The students have looked at the theme of ecosystems and biodiversity with an emphasis on nature. They have also drawn inspiration from other murals and community art pieces and hope to involve local primary school children in an aspect of their design work.”

Frances Hope, head gardener, was delighted to welcome Coleg Gwent students back to the Garden Village: “I am very proud of what we have created at Loftus Garden Village and was delighted to share with the students how we have delivered this beautiful urban, ‘countryside style’ garden with biodiversity at its core. The combination of ornamental planting, creation of natural wildlife habitats and water features should hopefully stimulate their creative juices and we eagerly anticipate their finished artwork!”

Loftus Garden Village – which is set for completion in 2018 - includes kitchen gardens and landscaped areas which will be maintained for the benefit of both Garden Village and neighbouring residents. The design features tree-lined streets and a central green space, creating a traditional village feel, with environmentally-friendly planting and a central pond where rainwater harvested from the new housing will collect.

Lovell began work in July 2014 on the first phase of the ambitious £30 million regeneration development, with the first residents moving in towards the end of 2015. A wide choice of homes range from one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom family houses, with properties available for open market sale, shared ownership, social, market and intermediate rent. Nineteen homes have been delivered – mainly through shared ownership sale - on a co-operative basis. Homes of different tenures are pepper-potted throughout the development to ensure a fully integrated and inclusive community.

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