The site is at Malton Avenue, a triangular shaped piece of land, surrounded on all three sides by housing. It was a former garage colony and local authority depot, with cabins, containers, areas of hard standing and a large patch of Japanese Knotweed. The neighbourhood is ranked 1,446 out of 32,482 of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England.

The landowner, (housing association ‘Bolton at Home’) kick started the process through clearing the site of all buildings and treating the knotweed during 2010. Following this, a consultation was held with local residents to choose a design for the site. The design produced by Proffitts – Investing in Communities was the preferred option and it included a kick about area, earth mounded maze, bog garden, chunky stone seating, informal natural play features and edible planting.  As the site is surrounded by houses, it was vital to get the support from the local community to ensure the long term success of the project. This started with the design being chosen by the residents.

The project was partly funded by Bolton at Home who arranged the initial clearance and also funded many of the activities that took place on site. BATRA (Bolton’s Affiliation of Tenants and Residents Associations) were successful in raising funds through Community Spaces via the BIG Lottery for the majority of the capital works.

The construction works were phased in order to give the residents as many opportunities as possible to get involved in the physical transformation of the site.

The work officially started on site in March 2011 with a litter pick and site clearance which involved the whole community. This was followed by the main construction between May and June (by contractor Country so that the launch event could take place over the summer holidays. Around 200 people attended the launch which included a huge BBQ, chainsaw carving demonstrations, willow weaving a new arch over the path and games and activities for the children. A naming competition for the site was held amongst local school children and the winning name ‘Daisy Dell’ was chosen for the area.

Following the launch, activities were held on with artist Cool Canvas to create raised herb beds joined by a willow tunnel, a small fenced planted area (to be used as an educational resource) and to build a toddler woodland seating area with carved timber mushroom seats.

This was followed in the winter of 2011/12 by a series of community planting days held on site with the contractor to plant the native hedgerow boundary, over 40 fruit trees to create the mini orchard and a fruiting hedgerow along the road. Each of these events was well attended by local residents.

The result is a really well used community facility that is kept well maintained by the neighbouring residents who have taken ownership of the site.  It has made a difference to the way that the estate is perceived both internally and externally and has united the community. Events are held on site regularly, supported by Bolton at Home in order to ensure ongoing involvement of local people.

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