Busy year for Hardings Pits

A new riverside park is attracting more and more people to enjoy its open spaces.Harding's Pits Doorstep Green was created from a derelict site just off King's Lynn town centre five years ago.

A new riverside park is attracting more and more people to enjoy its open spaces.

Harding's Pits Doorstep Green was created from a derelict site just off King's Lynn town centre five years ago.

Its newly published annual report said it has had a busy year and a website is due to be launched shortly.

"Local people are using the green more and more for recreation and relaxation, and of course it has always been an ideal pedestrian route between South Lynn and the town centre - it's just a lot nicer to use now," said Barry Tice, chairman of the Harding's Pits Community Association.

"There's always someone around and on a sunny weekend the place is alive with people. There's also been a big increase in bird and insect life and that is mostly due to the planting of trees, shrubs and wild flowers and grasses which was done when the site was landscaped."

Litter is being effectively kept under control by volunteer teams, and an increased police presence resulting from the development of the South and West Lynn Safer Neighbourhoods Team is helping to curb vandalism and illegal use of motorcycles, says the report.

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But Mr Tice gives a warning that more practical help is needed from the local community.

"It was pressure from local people which saved the green in the mid-1990s. It would have been destroyed by a supermarket that was planned for the site. Its value for both people and wildlife would have been lost for ever," he said.

"It might still be lost unless

more people from the community come forward to help in its management. The original team are all getting older and it needs some fresh blood."

Harding's Pits has been the site of the Lynn shipbuilding and whaling industries, a brickyard and a dumping ground for the town's rubbish. The Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, which now owns the land, has agreed to its use as a doorstep green for at least 25 years.

The £100,000 project has been underwritten by the government's New Opportunities Fund with the Countryside Agency (now part of Natural England) administering the grant process. The project has been match-funded by the partners in the neighbouring Nar-Ouse Regeneration Area (NORA) scheme - the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Norfolk County Council, English Partnerships, The East of England Development Agency and Morston Assets, the principal private developer for NORA.

The annual meeting is at the community centre, Hillington Square, on Thursday, May 10, at 6.30 pm. Anyone who uses the green or is interested in its development is welcome to attend.

This has been a busy year but the management team was able to complete it with no more than four meetings, which must be something of a record. The highlights were the formal opening of the green, on October 24, 2006, and the delivery and erection of the Great Whale and the carved entry markers in July.

A website will shortly be launched - go to www.hardings-pits.org.uk

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