A previously unloved open space in Liskeard has been transformed thanks to cash secured through a nearby housing development.
Working with parents, local councillors and the wider community, Liskeard Hillfort Primary School - which leases the land - was awarded more than £27,000 in funding from Cornwall Council earlier this year.
When a planning application is submitted, the Council secures such money through what is known as a Section 106 agreement. This cash is spent on improvements in the wider area, from road schemes or new play parks to community facilities.
In the case of Old Trust Nature Reserve, the funding was secured from a development of 40 homes off Woodgate Road in Liskeard.
The plan was to transform the space to benefit everyone, including dog walkers, groups for children and helping older people enjoy the area, particularly through an allotment project that was already in place.
Since the cash was awarded, work has taken place on coppicing and felling of trees, installing a nature walk using the felled wood to create chainsaw carvings of popular children’s characters and woodland animals, and putting in benches.
A sensory garden and a ‘boggy’ garden will also be installed to give youngsters areas to play and learn about the environment.
New signs will help to tackle a long-standing problem with dog faeces and bird and bat boxes will be erected.
The final piece of the jigsaw will be an outdoor classroom just inside the school grounds, to be used by schoolchildren during the day and community groups at other times.
Dr Tim Cook, chair of Old Trust Nature Reserve and headteacher at the school, said: “We were delighted to receive Section 106 funding to develop the nature reserve.
“We’ve seen far more people take advantage of the area – and it’s being looked after more carefully than before.
“Our next steps include planting the boggy garden, installing the outdoor classroom and adding some bird and bat boxes.”
Olly Monk, the Council’s portfolio holder for housing and planning, said: “The planning process plays a key role in improving our communities – not just for those who move into new homes but for those already living there – and this project is a prime example of that.
“Making sure that new developments are beneficial for everyone in a community is always an important part of the process.”
The Council’s local member for Liskeard South and Dobwalls, Jane Pascoe, added: “This is a great example of S106 money being used to mitigate development in the open countryside.
“The nature reserve will be for all of the community to enjoy in this tranquil setting.
“I am delighted that the children have benefited, and I look forward to working with them on their plan for an outdoor classroom.”
The total cost of the project is set to be around £40,000, with the school making up the rest of the funding.
Work will also be starting on a safety scheme in Old Road this summer, made possible by further S106 money.
Story posted on July 27, 2021