APPENDIX 1 (GRI 22(i))|
An Area-Based Environmental Regeneration
In 1998, Sheffield Wildlife Trust was commissioned
to carry out an audit of all public greenspace within the Manor
and Castle regeneration area: an estate with pockets of exceptional
deprivation, social and economic exclusion, branded in 1996 as
"the worst estate in Britain". The City Council had
withdrawn all its open space-related services some years earlier,
in response to impossibly high levels of vandalism and lawlessness
associated with the Estate's parks and open spaces.
The Green Estate Project, developed from the
audit, started in February 1999, employing two full-time staffan
Environmental Development Manager and a Project Officerto
develop a definitive Environmental Action Plan for the Estate,
and to deliver a practical demonstration flagship project on a
site in Wybourn. That phase of the programme resulted in the creation
of the Wybourn Community Garden, the establishment of Wybourn
Greenbase (a community advice centre and environmental shop-front),
and the adoption of the Manor and Castle Regeneration Area Environmental
Action Plan as part of the area's wider Regeneration Masterplan.
The first stage of delivering the Plan comes
to an end in March 2003, after two years of action funded from
a range of sources, including Sheffield City Council, EAF, SRB3,
ERDF, ESF, HLF, Hanson Environment Fund, Countryside Agency, Neighbourhood
Renewal Fund, Health Action Zone, Education Action Zone and Barclays
Site Savers. Beyond that, the delivery of greenspace management
functions will be transferred to a newly formed community enterprisethe
Green Estate Companyand the ongoing support of the Green
Estate programme will become the joint responsibility of Sheffield
Wildlife Trust, Manor and Castle Development Trust and the Green
Estate Company, working in partnership with local community forums
and Sheffield City Council.
During the course of the project, a huge amount
has been achieved:
1. A comprehensive series of public events,
meetings, media coverage and publications has kept the residents
of Manor, Castle and Wybourn participating in the Green Estate
programme. Much of the work delivered has been undertaken by volunteers,
and has been linked to the Trust's training programme and apprenticeship
scheme. Events have included health walks and guided cycle rides.
2. Three pocket parks have been including
vehicle access barriers, community sculptures and other artworks,
children's play facilities, striking entrance features, mosaic
benches and wildlife-friendly, low-maintenance planting. They
were created working closely with local people, work being undertaken
by staff and volunteers from the Wildlife Trust, the local community,
other community organisations, and local developers. After a long
struggle to get the new housing development started, new properties
near to Fretson Green are now selling well, and Bellways will
be starting to develop Stage two of the development without any
public financial subsidy. The ongoing costs of maintaining the
pocket parks will be covered by payment of annual ground-rents
from new housing built near by, into an ear-marked community fund
set aside for the purposeemploying local people (who are
currently being trained as part of the programme) to deliver the
3. Derelict allotments at Deep Pits have
been cleared and returned to productive use as part of the first
stage in developing this derelict wasteland into a new District
Park. A new wood has been planted at one end of the site, a low
specification path network has been installed and wetlands are
being created, both for their wildlife value, and to provide fishing
ponds for local people. The wetland system being planned will
have the added benefit of contributing to a sustainable drainage
system for nearby new housing. The boundary of the new park has
been secured using a naturalistic arrangement of rocks, combined
with a decorative stone wall, specially designed by an artist
working with local residents. Development of the Park was highlighted
as an example of good practice in the recently published report
of the Urban Greenspace Task Force.
4. Local food growing and market gardening
pilot projects have been established at a number of allotment
sites across the area, to investigate the feasibility of different
approaches to Green Estate food production and marketing.
5. A landscaping scheme valued at £132,000
has been carried out at Fairleigh Gateway, incorporating some
innovative new planting approaches developed working with the
Landscape Department of Sheffield University. It is both flower-rich
and low maintenance, and has had a major impact on the visual
amenity and wildlife value of one of the main routes into the
Manor and Castle Estate.
6. Vehicle barriers, teen shelters and a
skateboard/BMX track are being installed at Sky Edge Fields.
7. The first phase of new children's play
facilities and vehicle barriers have been completed at Mather
Road Recreation ground.
8. Victoria Methodist Hall has been purchased
by the Wildlife Trust and refurbished as a combination of a community
meeting space and the Trust's new Headquarters. It brings a significant
SME into the heart of the regeneration area, gives the Trust a
long-term stake in the area, and converts a previously poor quality
community facility into a high quality, multi-functional one.
Linked to the redevelopment of the Hall are the creation of a
community wildlife garden, the provision of environmental activities
and play facilities to local children, and the incorporation of
water-saving and other environmental features into the refurbishment
of the Hall.
9. A new nature reserve has been established
at Carbrook Ravine, where 15 tonnes of fly-tipped waste were removed
by Trust staff in one day, before the installation of vehicle
access controls and the start of an area-wide waste awareness
10. A series of schools projects, informal
young people's group activities and environmental play schemes
has worked with a significant proportion of the young people in
the area, to entertain them and encourage them to make productive
and safe use of their local greenspaces, while raising their awareness
of environmental issues and enabling them to contribute to the
regeneration of their local neighbourhoods. These have included
the establishment of a "School Mini-Farm" in the grounds
of one school.
11. A community tool bank and gardening
advice service has been set up at the newly created Wybourn Community
Garden, and has led on to plans to establish a Back Garden Growers'
Consortium, to produce and sell locally grown produce.
12. Food Poverty Development work, aimed
at promoting healthy eating, and linking to the production and
distribution of locally grown fresh produce, has involved the
establishment of community cafes at Sky Edge Community Centre
and Victoria Hall, the organisation of a "Plot to Pot"
cooking demonstration and training programme and the establishment
of a regular fruit and vegetable distribution round around local
shops on the Estate.
13. A series of pilot neighbourhood recycling
schemes have been run, promoting and undertaking recycling at
offices and homes around the estate. The development of greenwaste
composting is being taken forward as a recycling initiative that
has the potential to be commercially self-supporting in future.
14. A community tree nursery, growing and
selling local provenance native trees has been established on
the site of the historic tree nursery in Norfolk Heritage Park,
and its operation is being linked into the community elements
of redeveloping the Norfolk Park Housing Estate, by combining
it with a community garden and education facility, and running
seed-gathering and tree planting events.
15. Vacant development land is being enhanced
for people and wildlife across Manor Castle, Wybourn and Norfolk
Park (as well as parts of North Sheffield), by sowing it with
wildflower seed to create large expanses of cornfield annual wildflower
meadowsaving money in landscaping works, reducing maintenance
costs and creating something of value to both people and wildlife.
Other areas of vacant and derelict land have been sown with crops
such as sunflowers, wheat and flaxall of which are visually
attractive, novel and have the potential to provide some sort
of harvestable crop. The productive land use team has harvested
yellow rattle seed from one of the Trust's rural nature reserves,
for use in reseeding areas of inner city vacant land, from where
future seed yields can be harvested for commercial sale.
16. Work has started to regenerate Sheffield
Manor as the centrepiece in a £10 million-integrated heritage,
environment, tourism and training centre at the heart of the Green
Estate. It will involve the restoration of a number of buildings,
to provide accommodation, workspace, training facilities, a garden
centre, a city farm, interpretation, refreshments, facilities
for the processing and distribution of Green Estate produce, etc,
etc, all linked through the common thread of Sheffield Manor and
the land around it (which is the last remaining remnant of the
historical Sheffield Deer Park). Preliminary community work is
under way, a bid for funding from Heritage Lottery Fund is in
hand, partnerships have been pulled together and business plans
for all the elements of the Manor Farm are being prepared, to
ensure that the whole will be a commercially viable centre-piece
to the Green Estate in years to come. It is physically linked
to the rest of the Estate by a circular heritage walk, for which
a promotional leaflet has been produced.
The integrated environmental programme described
above is being delivered by a wide range of organisations, and
funded from a huge variety of sources, but the whole is considerably
greater than the sum of its parts, because of the central premise
that greenspace should be valued for social and economic reasons
as well as aesthetic and ecological ones, and that it should be
treated as part of a wider asset base, rather than as an isolated
drain on available management resources.
From April 2003, the productive land use elements
of the Estate will be separated off as commercially self-sufficient
community enterprises, employing local people to deliver commercially
viable environmental services. These will then, together with
a range of other income streams developed by other elements of
the Manor and Castle regeneration programme (such as the ground
rents from new housing) underpin the onward management and maintenance
of the Estate's greenspaces.
Marrying together the environmental assets of
Manor and Castle, with its social and economic needs, and developing
a community-controlled asset base to support the parts of the
system that are not in themselves economically self-sufficient
should provide a sustainable solution to many of the Estate's
problems. Linking community development, productive land uses,
skills training, volunteer development, education, health, nature
conservation, sustainable urban drainage, recreational provision,
tourism and cultural heritage into one combined programme around
and environmental theme appears to be a successful formula to
provide a centre-piece to this particular area regeneration initiative.