Work has this week started on landscaping the open areas of Bilston Urban Village.
The City of Wolverhampton Council project ties in with the Garden City concept commissioned by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Up to 450 homes will be built by private developers on the former brownfield land, which will be connected by around 14 hectares of land designated for public open space and a nature conservation.
idverde, who boast award-winning landscaping works such as Media City in Salford, and award-winning maintenance of prominent sites such as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in their portfolio, are carrying out the open space landscaping works, which are expected to be completed this summer.
The aim is to improve biodiversity and recreation, with works to include developing a network of paths for walking and cycling, clearing overgrown trees and shrubs, and providing fencing to properly define and protect areas.
Work will also be undertaken to significantly improve the nature conservation value of the sites. This will involve a range of activity such as woodland management, development of ground flora, meadow creation, tree planting, hedge planting, development of the attenuation pond, possible creation of a community orchard, provision of bird and bat boxes, and actions to increase biodiversity along the edges of the canal.
All this will lead to a significant enhancement of the open spaces within Bilston Urban Village, and it is proposed, on completion of the works, to declare the open space sites a Local Nature Reserve (LNR).
Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said:
“This is a major milestone for Bilston Urban Village. People are already moving into the first of up to 450 new homes being developed. The open space strategy will see idverde deliver a green environment for the community to enjoy and thrive in as it becomes established.”
Phil Topping, Operation Director for idverde, added:
“We are delighted to have been awarded the landscape improvement contract located within the Bilston Urban Village development area. We look forward to working closely with the wider project team in ensuring the successful delivery of this important recreational area, and improving access arrangements with the provision of new footpaths, planting, fencing, creation of meadow areas and lighting. Very importantly, we are privileged in being able to assist with the development and improvement of the nature conservation elements of the scheme.”
The council has secured a £681,000 boost from the European Regional Development Fund for the Bilston Urban Village Open Space Development Strategy.
The remainder of the £1.5 million needed for the landscaping scheme will be funded from £156,000 Section 106 private sector money already secured from developers, and council investment.
A Steering Group for the Bilston Urban Village Open Space Development Strategy is in place, consisting of City of Wolverhampton Council, Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, Canal & River Trust, University of Wolverhampton, local residents, the Land Trust, and Ormiston South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy.