Proposals for 26-acre extension to Wickford Memorial Park to be presented to councillors

Mick Ferris
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At the Neighbourhood’s and Public Spaces Committee on Wednesday January 20, councillors will be presented with an update on the planned extension to Wickford Memorial Park.

This is after it was agreed by councillors in November’s Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee for the 26 acres of land between Wickford Memorial Park and Giddings Copse to become an extension of Wickford Memorial Park. The site had previously been leased to Beauchamps School as their playing fields, but the school no longer required use of the site.

Since being approved, initial concepts for the site have been developed and defined further, which will result in the site providing an effective contrast to the many formal facilities and amenities situated within Wickford Memorial Park by offering a more informally managed area of high biodiversity to expand on the pollinator work currently being undertaken throughout the borough.

The site will include a woodland area of almost three hectares consisting of 3,500 trees of a variety of different species, and there will be six woodland ponds created to provide a wetland habitat for wildlife. An area of approximately 5,000m² will be developed for the sowing of a wildflower meadow, and a community orchard will be developed, with over 200 fruit trees supplied to be planted by the local community.

Chairman of the Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee, Councillor David Harrison, said: The 26 acre extension to Wickford Memorial Park is fantastic news. We’ve seen during the pandemic how important being able to enjoy the outdoors can be and the positive contribution it can make to people’s mental health and wellbeing.

“The new land will provide opportunities for the local community to come together and connect with others, learn new skills, and give back to the community through encouraging residents to become involved in tree planting initiatives, and to support the future management and maintenance of the site.

“The creation of a number of different environmental features within the area of land will ensure that it is attractive and enticing to residents. I can’t wait to see this project develop into the brilliant community space it will become.”

The site will be managed and maintained by the council’s parks and countryside service and will provide important opportunities for the voluntary sector and the local community to work with and support the council to improve the natural environment.

Mick Ferris

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