Future secured for nature area in housing development

A new 17 hectare nature conservation area will be created next to a Crayford housing development, thanks to a deal between national land management charity The Land Trust and Taylor Wimpey.

The creation of the new area was part of a planning condition imposed by Bexley Council when Taylor Wimpey built their Braeburn Park housing development in 2000. However, the site has a history of contamination which meant finding an organisation willing to take on this liability and manage the site proved problematic.

A long search for a solution followed during which time the land provided no benefit to the local community. The answer was found in the form of The Land Trust, a national charity which manages open spaces for community benefit and has a track record in dealing with complex sites.

Jonathan Ducker, Development Manager at The Land Trust, said:

“The Land Trust manages numerous sites such as former coalfields or landfills that retain certain environmental liabilities. We are therefore used to dealing with complex sites and finding solutions. At Braeburn we worked with Taylor Wimpey to find a new innovative technique to constantly record levels of methane from the landfill restoration works. In doing so we were able to prove that levels were safe and therefore the site could be managed within the available resources. This means we can now start to transform the land into an asset for the local community, in particular those living next to the site in the Taylor Wimpey’s development.”

Paul Bending ,External Works Manager with Taylor Wimpey said:

’We are committed to delivering high quality homes that are energy efficient and address a wide range of environmental and social issues through the design of our developments. The green spaces around our development at Braeburn Park make it a great place to live and are a vital part of the development, so we are delighted that The Land Trust and London Wildlife Trust have taken on the responsibility for managing the land. This will ensure a positive and long lasting legacy for the area.

The Land Trust has taken the ownership of the site and its environmental liability and have appointed the London Wildlife Trust to take on the day to day management of the site, Matthew Frith, Director of Policy and Planning for the London Wildlife Trust said: “Braeburn Park provides an excellent opportunity to get people involved with the natural world. London Wildlife Trust is keen to bring our expertise to the site, ensuring our conservation work goes hand-in-hand with making Braeburn a safe and attractive place for people to enjoy.”