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A wildflower meadow is being created in a Leeds estate thanks to a partnership between Yorkshire Housing and Leeds City Council.

Land off Langbar Road in the Swarcliffe Estate is set to become a colourful tree-lined habitat by next summer.

Yorkshire Housing staff are working with the council’s housing teams and the Youth Justice Service on a pilot project that also takes in replanting around nearby Cock Beck.

The Leeds-based Housing Association manage the estate under a PFI contract with Yorkshire Transformations Ltd on behalf of the council up to 2035.

Other green spaces across Swarcliffe could also be transformed – enhancing the environment and protecting against flooding.

Wildflower meadow (Medium)
YH Swarcliffe planting

The first area to benefit is near the estate’s neighbourhood office and will be transformed with new trees, spring bulbs, and rugged hard landscaping.

Work began on November 13 with the planting of 600 crocus and daffodil bulbs.

Leading the project were Gary Hoyland, Yorkshire Housing’s Swarcliffe estate and environmental team leader, and Sally Kendrick, the housing association’s Swarcliffe PFI project manager.

Sally said the scheme came out of a recent environmental survey around the estate.

She added: “We found a lot of trees were diseased or damaged or needed remedial work and, in the course of doing that work, 37 trees had to be felled.

 

“We looked at replacing them like-for-like.

 

“But we thought we could use new trees much more effectively to enhance local spaces and create places that people want to come to and are of interest.”

Work at Cock Beck, which will guard against flooding, and the creation of further wildflower meadows will see dozens more trees put in.

Sally said of the pilot project: “What we’re hoping is that by redefining these sort of bland areas that are just mono-cultural grass at the moment, we can use this as a template for the rest of the estate.

 

“There are huge amounts of grassed areas across the estate and it will create a much more attractive and bio-diverse environment.”

YH Swarcliffe grass area

Oak trees can support a thousand other species and Sally said: “The Oak trees might be small now, but they take hundreds of years to reach maturity, and so this is a legacy project as well.”

 

Another wider benefit is to engage young people in realising the project and Sally added: “We love involving young people in setting their own environmental future and in working with us to achieve lasting benefits.

 

“It also provides them with opportunities to learn new skills and also gives them a sense of community and doing something good.

 

“And, hopefully, when they see the good that they’ve done, it will give them a platform for other things in the future.”

See a video featuring Gary Holyland and the work at Swarcliffe here.

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