The transformation of 25ha of agricultural land into an area for amenity use is near completion.
The New Ash Green Village Association, of Kent, claimed Northfield from Bovis Homes in 1995, which had been leasing the land to a local farmer. Under previous agreements the land should have been used for amenity purposes and, following a High Court ruling, the land was handed to the association in 1998.
Ash-cum-Ridley Parish Council and neighbouring Hartley Parish Council leased the land in October 2000, agreeing to turn it over to amenity use. The councils formed Northfield Management Committee and decided to turn the land into a traditional English meadow with a children’s play area alongside ancient woodland.
Hartley Parish Council vice-chairman Alan Burnett said: “We’re creating a place for people to walk their dogs and enjoy the environment while also creating a wildlife haven. Bees and skylarks have done particularly well recently.”
A local resident said: “This is the best thing the parish council has ever done.”
Setbacks meant that the site was not ready for sowing until October 2001. The committee selected a seed mixture of more than 60 native wild flowers and grasses to spread over two hectares of field.
The committee also secured £14,500 from the Forestry Commission to fund five hectares of new woodland.
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