Council approves funding for park and green space transformations
13 Dec 2022
A playpark and popular green space will receive investments in their future after funding was approved by the council’s cabinet.
The Isabella Heap in Blyth and Bamburgh Play Park will both receive funding from the council’s Parks Enhancement Capital Programme for 2022/23.
Councillors approved a contribution of £25,000 towards a £123,500 improvement scheme for the Isabella Heap, or the “Bella.” It is the latest step in the transformation of the former pit heap into a community green space, home to wildlife including red squirrels and dragonflies.
The sum will be added to a successful bid for £85,000 from the Government’s Levelling Up Parks Fund and £13,500 from County Councillors and Blyth Town Council funding.
The project will complement the wider economic investment and regeneration activities being undertaken as part of the Energising Blyth programme.
Under the plans, which aim to improve access, reduce antisocial behaviour and increase biodiversity, paths and seating will be improved and Rock Armour and Barriers installed to deter motorcyclists.
Trees and wildflower meadows will be planted and a pond dipping platform, wildlife nature trail, bird hide and feeding station created.
All project planning has been carried out by the council’s countryside officers working with the Isabella Heap Volunteer Group who have been instrumental in the scheme and will be integral in the provision and maintenance of the area.
Aileen Barrass, Chair of the Isabella Heap Volunteer Group, said: “The Bella is an amazing place. From the top, you can see the Cheviots and the sea. In summer, the meadows are a magical display of colour and we have red squirrels and dragonflies.
“This funding will mean we can make it more accessible so that more people can enjoy what it has to offer.”
The Bamburgh Play Park redevelopment is being led by Bamburgh Parish Council. It will receive £10,000 towards the £120,000 project, which is already well underway, along with £60,000 from the Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, £20,000 from the Lord Crewe Charity, £30,000 of other external funding and local community fundraising.
The scheme will feature a pirate ship and aims to create a new 'destination' play facility that will improve safety and security and include a wide range of new accessible and inclusive play equipment that can be used by all young people.
Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member for Children’s Services, and county councillor for Bamburgh, said: “The parish council have brought the community together to rebuild the playpark in Bamburgh. The build is well underway with new equipment going in.
“Many residents have also contributed to this project so the village can have a new playpark for their children and grandchildren, along with the many thousands of visitors who come to Bamburgh throughout the year.”
Northumberland County Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member for Local Services, said: "Our local parks and green spaces are at the heart of our communities and are very much valued by all who visit them.
“We know that enjoying the outdoors is so important to both physical and mental wellbeing and making sure we have safe spaces where everyone can go to have fun with their families is a high priority for the council.
“These developments will be significant assets to Blyth and Bamburgh, improving health and wellbeing, tackling inequalities and helping to boost the visitor economy.”