Urban green space project begins to bear fruit

Wet but worth it: Councillors Phillip Lofts, Jo Newing, Ken Richardson and Dave Leech survey The Fleets latest development
Wet but worth it: Councillors Phillip Lofts, Jo Newing, Ken Richardson and Dave Leech survey The Fleets latest development
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A new community orchard has been planted as the latest development in a new urban green space created through a deal between Barnsley Council and other landowners in the area.

Coun Phillip Lofts and colleagues worked for some time to strike an agreement between the council, Barnsley College and other landowners to bring an area of neglected open space at The Fleets, near Old Town, back into use as a formal space for the public to enjoy.

There are long term plans for developments on the site, following progress which made it formally available for public.

The latest to come to fruition is the creation of a community orchard on an open grassed area close to homes which border the site.

The work has been done by YMCA Barnsley and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, working in conjunction with Barnsley College.

In addition to providing a new public space, it is hoped the orchard will be used for educational purposes, with students learning about planting the site already, with potential to go on to become involved in maintaining it with pruning, grafting and harvesting, as well as the storage and preservation of the fruit it produces.

Money for the scheme has come from the Big Lottery ‘Our Bright Future’ initiative, through the International Tree Foundation which has worked in partnership with a body called Learning Through Landscapes and the YMCA.

Coun Lofts said several elements of Barnsley Council had been involved in the work and added: “It is a very exciting stage in the Fleets project.”

They are now looking to recruit volunteers to work on the site and are to launch a Facebook page to provide a contact point for those with an interest in the scheme.