A vital new park that will give many thousands of people access to nature has become the latest addition to public open space management charity the Land Trust’s portfolio.
Elba Park, an attractive 52 hectare county park on the site of the former Lambton Colliery and Cokeworks near Sunderland will provide a new green amenity for the local community and beyond.
Operations at the Lambton Cokeworks ceased in the 1980’s. Buildings were demolished at that time and the land was left derelict for many years, a poor reminder of past industrial activity. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has invested £25m in reclaiming the heavily contaminated site, creating a 52-hectare country park featuring new footpaths and a stunning range of community artworks. Meanwhile, work is now underway on 359 new family houses by David Wilson Homes North East on an adjacent part of the site.
Now the HCA has handed over the responsibility for the park to the Land Trust, who will ensure it benefits the community and develops into an asset that will enhance the local economy. The Trust will be working in partnership with Groundwork North East to manage the site at a local level.
Euan Hall, the Land Trust’s chief executive explains, “The Trust safeguards public spaces, such as Elba Park and ensures they are managed for community benefit. However, to do this effectively, management has to be carried out a local level – very much in line with the ideals of localism and the Big Society that we are hearing so much about. Therefore for each individual site we select a managing agent that can work effectively with the local community. Elba Park will be managed by Groundwork North East, they are very active in the area and adept at involving and engaging with the local community.”