Little Billing Pocket Park Community Project
Over the past three years it has been great to work with the people in Little Billing and Bellinge in the new Pocket Park that is situated on Billing Parish Council owned land between the bottom of Codlin Close through to the Valley Road, Little Billing Bridge.
It is a project that is led by local Parish Councillors, Michael Clasper, Sue Shaw, Dennis Nash and Liz Palethorpe with Michael especially who has pulled in funding and help from numerous agencies but importantly makes use of what is a fantastic area in the much maligned Eastern District.
For those of us who live in the area to have lakes, a river, woods and the open spaces like The Leys and Bellinge Field is something we all appreciate which is why so many people want them to not only be protected but improved.
The first major effort was to have ‘Wotkis Lake ‘dredged after over 25 years of neglect by Councils of all colours which was done at the start of last year with the work being carried out by the Environment Agency and the removal of almost 300 lorry loads of silt.
As you can see from the before and after pictures the difference is outstanding and we’ve now seen the return of swans to the lake.
The dredging has also made it is easier for the local volunteers to keep the lake clear of debris and rubbish at regular clean ups of the whole area.
Work on the Park itself has included putting up bird boxes that I organised to have made by prisoners working in the HMP Wellingborough carpentry workshop under the tuition of a real supporter of community work Roy Palin. They also made a number of notice boards that unfortunately were destroyed by some mindless vandals.
Talking to the prisoners and sending them photos of how their work is being used is useful in showing them that their efforts are appreciated and at the same time provided meaningful training to help them get a job on release as part of the prisons commitment to the community and preventing re-offending.
A great feature of the Park is not only the lake and river but an outstanding weir that has been well worth clearing and repairing providing you don’t mind getting wet.
Last year on what was an old playground site volunteers planted an orchard which in years to come it is hoped will literally bear fruit for the community. I’m really pleased that all of the trees have survived the winter and hopefully will continue to thrive.
From clearing undergrowth, collecting the dreaded and always annoying fly tipped items, laying new hedges and footpaths to planting new trees as part of the national tree planting project volunteers are working to improve and enhance the whole area.
If anyone would like to join us then please come along, (details of dates and times are on the Billing Parish Council website), it is well worth the effort and just shows what can be done in only a couple of hours once a month by people working together.