Sheffield scheme transforms cleared sites with wild crops

Innovative meadow plantings raise standards against backdrop of city housing estates

A not-for-profit landscape contractor has turned more than 80 Sheffield demolition sites into meadow landscapes, raising the standards and biodiversity for local residents. Social enterprise company Green Estate has planted wildflower meadows, crops of wheat and fields of sunflower and flax against a backdrop of city housing estates. The Sheffield City Council’s redevelopment work is part of the Housing Market Renewal programme. It has seen tracts of city housing stock cleared to make way for new housing. In some cases the plots have been left undeveloped for up to eight years. The land manager, Sheffield Homes, turned to Green Estates, owned in partnership by Sheffield Wildlife Trust and Manor & Castle Development Trust, for an innovative temporary solution. As well as meadow planting the project has created strategic “meadow gateways” to housing areas and other places seen by residents. According to Green Estate’s project manager, Dan Cornwell, the scheme has helped to create local pride and ownership in communities that previously cared little about the land’s redevelopment. Cornwell said: “The biggest success is the wildflower planting. We initially received negative responses from residents but now that they have seen the difference the meadows make, we are receiving compliments and thanks. Many residents are now involved in the planting schemes themselves.” Green Estate plans to continue the scheme at other sites in the city during 2006 and it is seeking funding to do so. Plans are also in place for an arts project to coincide with the planting.

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