Over the years Birchwood has expanded and grown phenomenally – meaning the increase in population requires an increase in facilities, especially children’s play areas.
Birchwood Big Local was formed by residents in March 2012 after having been awarded £1m from Big Local Lottery funding. This was mainly due to the area being recognised as having a high incidence of child deprivation.
The Birchwood Big Local has already succeeded in providing a number of much needed facilities to benefit the local community.
These include the Diamond Park children’s play area on Staverton Crescent, costing more than £100k, four speed indicator devices at key locations, reducing dangerous speeding through the area, and bench seating next to bus stops.
It has also made green space improvements around the estate, as well as installing plant lock secure bicycle parking and providing numerous community events for the residents.
During extensive consultations from 2012 onwards, it became evident that facilities for children and young people were the top priority for the majority of residents.
Jasmin Green, in the centre of the estate, was identified by the residents as an area where further children’s play equipment could be installed.
It was recognised that the lottery ‘capital’ funding provided to Birchwood would cover the cost of procuring and installing play equipment for younger and older children.
However, once the capital is spent there would be no revenue stream to cover maintenance costs. Over time any equipment installed would naturally deteriorate and eventually have to be removed.
In 2015 after consulting a number of bodies including City of Lincoln Council, a groundbreaking scheme was devised, which would bring through revenue from properties, providing an income in perpetuity for maintenance and eventual replacement of the proposed play facilities.
To facilitate this, residents formed Birchwood Area Community Land Trust to enable land ownership and to continue the work once Big Local funding ends in 2025.
Since outline planning permission for the development was granted in 2017, this development has now moved to receiving full planning permission.
The plans are to provide a development of 28
bungalows, 5 dormer bungalows and 16 houses. These will be affordable rent properties with the majority being let to the elderly.
Great care has been taken in ensuring that the design of the site takes into account the existing pathways and pedestrian flows. Pathways will be greatly enhanced bringing an additional benefit to the disabled and families with children. With a large amount of tree planting planned the whole scheme will fit well in the location.
Access to the site will be via the nearby Aldergrove Crescent, with the access roadway being constructed in such a way that the speed of vehicle movement will be greatly reduced by speed reduction measures.
Further consultations with local residents are to take place shortly to identify the most suitable location for the play areas and the type of equipment to be installed.
Residents of the estate have already formed a Land Trust and obtained agreement in principle from the City Council for the transfer of land to them.
This will ensure that a large area of the green will always remain in the hands of local residents, protecting it from future development.
Long Term Benefits
Elderly residents across the area will benefit by moving from their larger houses into more suitable local accommodation.
Younger families throughout the area will benefit by the provision of much needed play facilities.
A large area of valuable green space being held in trust by the Birchwood community will be protected from any further development.