Neglected scrub land will emerge as a nature reserve with long term plans to create a country park

A part time worker has been appointed to help move forward the creation of an urban nature reserve using previously neglected land on the edge of Barnsley town centre.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 20 May, 2019, 11:17
Dr Alan Billings

The project to transform The Fleets at Honeywell has been in progress for several years, using land owned by Asda, which abutts the site, and Barnsley College which has premises alongside.

It has been steered through by councillors from the Old Town initially using money made available from a premium paid to the council by a housebuilder in the area, which allowed Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to get involved.

Now a further £20,000 has been made available from the North Area Council, a sub-group of Barnsley Council which has its own budget to spend on improving communities in the area.

The will pay for Lucy Brown to work on the site for part of each week, doing some practical work but also organising other projects, such as volunteers to help with the transformation.

It is expected the cash invested so far will help kick start other grant applications, helping the scheme develop.

A community orchard has already been planted and swathes of the land around the trees are now being planted with wild flowers, but the next stage is to ask residents what developments they would like to see in the area.

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Coun Phillip Lofts and Coun Jo Newing took part in a volunteering session to help clear vegetation, alongside professional help from Twiggs ground mainenance.

Coun Lofts said: "This summer season we are involving more volunteers to get more done at a fairly rapid pace, so at the end of the summer it is recongiseable as wildlife and recreation area.

"We hope people recognise its amenity value and protect it," he said.

The eventual aim is that the site, which neighbours a fishing lake and follows the line of an old canal, will become a country park.

Asda have backed the project, with the store's community champion Tina Burke providing rooms for meetings and helping to organise litter picks.

Sessions for volunteers are expected to run every second Saturday, with the next now due on June 1.