Three community-based projects, in Bucks, Newcastle upon Tyne and Surrey, have been short-listed for the Open Spaces Society’sprestigious Open Space Award.
The Grange Area Trust has saved Widmer Fields at Widmer End, Hazlemere, near High Wycombe in Bucks from development. The trust, which was established with the aim of conserving the 16-hectare site as a community and conservation open space, has bought the land. The trust intends to register the land as a village green so that it can be protected for ever and enjoyed by all. It is used by three local primary-schools for field studies.
The Friends of Tyne Riverside Country Park are extending and refurbishing the park at Newburn, Newcastle upon Tyne, creating a landscape which is attractive for wildlife and people. Local groups are helping with the practical work, improving the access routes, developing a sensory garden and creating an amphitheatre for public events, for instance.
The Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust, in partnership with Elmbridge Borough Council and with assistance from Surrey County Council, is transforming the Riverhill site from a scrubby, unattractive and overgrown area into an accessible wild meadow and grassed riverbanks with a riverside viewing-platform. They have involved local schools, businesses, clubs, community groups and the councils in their work.
Says Tim Crowther, chairman of the Open Spaces Society and a member of the judging panel: ‘These are excellent examples of local people working together to achieve something of real and lasting benefit to the community. We congratulate all three finalists on their efforts.
‘The winner will be announced that the society’s AGM in Birmingham on 16 July. There were 13 entries in total from England and Wales, all of them commendable and it was difficult to choose the short list.’
Further information is on the Open Spaces Society’s website at http://tinyurl.com/ag9tghu.