Community pitches in as work continues to transform former golf course into country park
Community-spirited volunteers have joined forces with local councillors to take part in a litter pick at the former Elemore Golf Course, as work continues to transform the site into a country park.
Twenty five volunteers, including the Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Claire Rowntree, who is also a Hetton ward councillor and fellow Hetton councillor, Cllr James Blackburn collected 25 bags of litter, including cans, bottles and branches brought down by the high winds earlier in the year.
Plans to create an eco park, visitor centre, heritage and garden centre at the site are continuing to move forwards following last year's extensive Let's Talk Elemore consultation with local residents on what they would like to see on the site.
Work has already begun on refurbishing the former clubhouse following planning permission this spring. This is set to become a community-run garden centre and plant nursery with a cafe, heritage visitor centre, working with local heritage and environmental groups to develop signage to inform visitors of the area's rich heritage and ecology, visitor centre and community space. Planning permission for the rest of the site is currently progressing, with a decision due later this summer
Councillor Claire Rowntree, who as lead member for the project chairs the Elemore Project Group, said: "The community in Hetton have really taken this project to their hearts and it's brilliant to see so many of them continuing to get involved in activities like the litter pick.
"Local residents have been instrumental in helping shape the plans for the country park through the Let's Talk Elemore consultation. They were clear from the start that they wanted to see the site being used as a country park with a garden centre and visitor centre
"They also they wanted the project to celebrate the area's heritage and protect the ecology of the area. It's really exciting to see the transformation underway and there will be many other opportunities for people to get involved as the country park continues to take shape."
Approved works in Elemore include the redevelopment of existing buildings to transform them into café facilities, garden centre, visitor centre and community space, including installation of specialist changing places and facilities for residents with severe physical disabilities.
There are also plans to improve the existing car park and create an additional car park which will be as eco-friendly as possible, with electric charging points and tree planting. The additional parking will enable more visitors to enjoy the park particularly those with reduced mobility. Other plans include the installation of play equipment and seating and improve pathways across the site to enable residents to easily move around as well as access from local housing estates. The building will be accessible and will support all residents and communities while the garden centre and café will support training for adults with disabilities.
As part of its community wealth building strategy, which is all about keeping wealth in local communities, the City Council is also planning to work with local suppliers and contractors wherever possible to make sure that funding generated through the project is retained within the city.
To keep in touch with the latest developments at Elemore, visit: www.sunderland.gov.uk/letstalkelemore