New bid to turn woods into community asset

Ernie Broom

Ernie Broom - Credit: Archant

A bid to turn one of Bury St Edmunds’ green spaces on the Howard estate into a community asset is being relaunched.

According to Ernie Broom, chairman of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants (HEART), the wooded area on the edge of Oakes Road playing fields is a prime place to create an outside classroom.

He said: “It is something I have been wanting to do for five years. It takes a lot of time to get these things off the ground.

“A few years ago some paths were put down by the (St Edmundsbury Borough) council but since then they have become overgrown. We need to kickstart the project again.

“It can be a fantastic outside classroom. We were going to have kids from the primary school and the middle school build bat boxes and bird boxes, but unfortunately the teacher involved left.

“We want it to be a real community asset, somewhere people can go and sit and watch the nature, or go for a walk through the woods.

“It is a fantastic place – how many communities can claim to have a wooded area like that? But it needs some work to make the best of it.”

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Mr Broom envisages an area cared for by the community young and old, with nature trails, a bike path and benches.

He said: “Young people are our future so getting them invested in the project, caring for it and building it – it will only benefit everyone.”

Green Party Suffolk county councillor and for the Tower division, Mark Ereira-Guyer , said the project would need expert help from the borough council, which owns the land, to get it off the ground.

“It is a very rare thing, having an area like that, there are not that many green spaces in Bury outside the Abbey Gardens,” he said.

“But it will need a lot of work. It needs clearing of litter as no nature will live there at the moment.

“Yes, there are some trees, but it will need some additional planting done to make the best of it. This is not something that residents and councillors can do alone. We need the expert help that the (borough) council should provide.

“The residents, with best intentions, are not going to know how to get this off the ground in a way that will work best – and nor will councillors like me.”

The idea was rebooted by Mr Broom at a recent HEART meeting and he is now hoping people will come forward with ideas and support for the project.