Did you know that the Parish Council doesn’t just provide hanging baskets, planters and grasscutting anymore? We provide a range of open space services.
The Parish Council has secured the transfer and leased various pieces of open space around Coxhoe and Quarrington Hill from Durham County Council to protect them from being sold on for development. This includes the three main areas of village green along the Front Street in Coxhoe, parcels of land around the old level crossing (the entrance to the Limes Estate), and land adjoining Bower Court adjoining the Parkhill Border. There are strong restrictions on the land to prevent the Parish Council, and future Parish Councillors from disposing of these. We are now developing proposals to improve and enhance the areas we have acquired and are undertaking consultations with adjacent residents and landowners to see what they would like to see happen with them. We will publicise our proposals here when we have agreed them/
We are also exploring another joint ‘Durham Ask’ project with Cassop-cum-Quarrington and Cornforth Parish Councils of the Steetley Railway line with a long term plan to turn this into yet another walkway / cycle track.
In Quarrington Hill the Parish Council have finally taken ownership of the Village Greens to preserve these as green space at the heart of the village and the extended allotments which are now complete with only one of the additional 6 plots left to let. We have also finalised the ’Durham Ask’ 30 year lease of Kingswood on both sides of the road completing our promise to residents to take ownership of these to prevent potential disposal to developers. Our thanks to Kelloe Parish Council and Kelloe residents for supporting this.
Improvements are taking place with your support
Coxhoe Parish Council are striving to keep their newly acquired green spaces well maintained. You will notice over the summer period that our appointed grounds maintenance team (altogether greener) will be maintaining and making improvements to all the village greens in Coxhoe and Quarrington Hill. After a number “Councillor Walkabouts” involving site visits across Coxhoe and Quarrington Hill an ambitious programme of work was devised which included:
- Replacing the broken bird’s mouth fencing along from Bower Court to the “Coxhoe” sign;
- We are in discussions with the landowners of the old railway line to acquire the footprint of the original railway gate on the opposite side of the road where one once stood. We will also be in discussions with Parkhill Developers in acquiring a new railway gate as part of the next phase of the Limes Estate;
- Refurbish the existing railway gate and give it a fresh coat of paint;
- On the village greens we will be installing bird’s mouth fencing in an attempt to prevent parking on the greens;
- Removing all shrubs along the mature lime trees and replacing with turf to bring about a uniform tidy look;
- Removal of the scrub alongside the corner of Village Care and along the limestone wall at St. Joseph’s Church;
- Using grant funding for a planting scheme of shrubs along the tree line behind the sculpture at Quarrington Hill; Current flower basket systems at Quarrington Hill have been looked at following residents’ views. It has been decided that the Council will review its current planting arrangements with the supplier and is reviewing alternative hanging system at Quarrington Hill, which would include approaching local businesses and providing them with hanging baskets. We have also instructed our supplier to plant the flower bed at Quarrington Hill where the ‘mound’ once stood;
- In Coxhoe the Council have allocated one hanging basket per lamppost as an alternative to the current two baskets per lamppost, but this will be a development for the next planting season because we will have to purchase a new hanging system for the lampposts;
- We have also committed to grass cutting in both villages to 14 times a year and look out for Jeff Riddell from altogether greener who signed another 12 month contract to undertake all our grounds maintenance needs earlier in 2017.
We would like to say thank you to all of those residents surrounding the newly acquired land who contributed their ideas about how they would like to see the land improved/used and now the new 2017/18 Council is in in place your views will be taken forward. We are moving forward with plans to install a footpath at St Mary’s grave yard to improve much needed access to the burial grave yard. We have received a number of correspondence from residents raising concerns around this. We are currently seeking a grant from Durham County Council to subsidise the work and will look to install a footpath in partnership with altogether greener this summer.
Wild flower meadow planned
Wild Flower meadow planned Wildflower meadows offer a diverse, and typically exceptionally attractive, habitat for the pleasure of young and old alike. The twentieth century saw a sharp decrease in the variety of wildflowers in the UK countryside. This was due to changes in agricultural policy and practice, particularly increased field drainage and herbicide use and the growth of urban sprawl. Over the past two decades, renewed interest in wildflower habitats has grown with concerns for biodiversity protection. Coupled with this concern has been an increasing interest in the restoration of old mismanaged wildflower meadows and the creation of new meadows through, for example, agricultural set-aside programmes and other countryside stewardship schemes. Allowing open habitats such as wildflower meadows in urban settings for the provision of native or naturalised grasses, wildflowers and flowering plants offers several advantages:
- Plant diversity attracts insects and other invertebrates (including butterflies, bees, spiders and millipedes), birds and mammals:
- Flowering species add a changing palate of colour to the urban environment throughout the seasons
- Active involvement of the local community in managing the site encourages ownership values to be fostered – activities may range from mowing to the collection of seeds for use at a new location or for sale.
- Opportunities for education and recreation abound (ranging from nature studies to art lessons).
- Even small plots of wildflower planting can change the feel of a setting, so that the creation of a wildflower meadow as part of an urban greenspace can bring a little piece of countryside into the town.
We are working with Durham County Council to investigate the installation of a wild flower meadow on Coxhoe’s second village green between the limestone wall and the mature lime trees. Also it will benefit the community as we currently pay for 14 grass cuts per year and installing a meadow would reduce this to one grass cut per year. Preparing the ground in the first year will be cost neutral but in the following years it will save the council on ground’s maintenance whilst also being pleasing to the eye and of course support the wildlife within the village. The County Council is currently in discussions to provide us with the first seed and some initial funding to commence the project. We would hope to continue this project by working with our local primary schools to incorporate this into their curriculum and working together in implementing a wild flower planting programme to enhance the appearance of the meadow. We would also like to look at installing some educational interpretation boards for the public to access.