Paisley Daily Express

Abandoned land is new sanctuary

Fly-tipping hotspot is transforme­d

- EDEL KENEALY

A hotspot for flytippers in Paisley is being transforme­d into a haven for locals and wildlife thanks to a group of volunteers.

Barochan Green Team, spearheade­d by husband and wife Alan and Malgorzata Hayward, is a new community group.

It is aiming to take an abandoned piece of land and turn it into a green space for the whole Ferguslie community to enjoy.

The land, which includes a section of woodland and open grass, was recently leased to the group by Ferguslie Park Housing Associatio­n.

They were also successful in securing £ 3,000 from the Tannahill Centre’s Good Ideas Fund in order to kickstart the planned programme of regenerati­on.

The couple – who are supported by a band of dedicated volunteers – hope to create a space where people, fresh produce and wildlife can thrive side by side.

Initial proposals include plans for vegetable patches and fruit trees, decorative flowers and shrubs, a water feature and benches for people to meet neighbours or read quietly.

For children, there will be a mud kitchen, balance beam, a kids dome and open space to run around.

A gazebo made from wild willow will also provide a safe and natural haven from the elements.

Malgorzata said: “We want to create a space for children to play, for the elderly and for families to sit and enjoy the fresh air and what could be a lovely area.

“It would be an eco-family friendly space in which we hope to grow fruit and veg, which is there for everyone to take from.

“For a while now we have been watching the animals appear, especially since lockdown so we want to install bird boxes and an insect hotel with magnifying glasses so the children can look more closely at the natural world.

“We also hope to get bat boxes and in the last few months we have seen foxes.

“So ideally this will be a place where wildlife and the local people can flourish side by side.”

The planned regenerati­on of the land has been drafted by the green team but Alan, Malgorzata and members are hoping to host a community event in a bid to get feedback from the wider community and to listen to their ideas about how the land can be revitalise­d before starting some of the larger projects.

A family-friendly event, the team hope to host it – covid permitting – at the end of June when it is also hoped more volunteers will sign up to help out.

For now, however, they are focused on clearing what has been a neglected piece of land.

They have so far removed three sofas and several mattresses dumped on site and are hoping to cut back some of the overgrown shrubs in order to get in and under them to remove even more rubbish and debris.

Alan added: “At the minute we are focused on keeping the area tidy. There is still an incredible about of rubbish and we have to get everything that is hazardous removed.

“The priority is to clear the land to get it to a safe state and host our community event.

“Depending on the outcome of the event and the ideas that come from the wider community, we will decide on the next steps.”

He added: “The funding that we got from the Good Ideas Fund means we can buy equipment and the tools we need to do the work and to make the raised beds for planting veg and things like that.”

For more informatio­n on the Barochan Green Team and to see progress pictures of the work completed so far, check out their Facebook page at www. facebook. com/ groups/7717807901­18941/

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