THE Council is to consult over plans to encourage nature to thrive around Monmouth’s Rockfield estate. It follows a grant from the Welsh Government’s Local Places for Nature fund to undertake a study that involves residents in developing nine community nature spaces and designing enhancements for nature at four neighbourhood play areas across Overmonnow.
Community nature spaces include areas for growing vegetables, flowers and fruit trees and tree planting as well as re-wilding areas into mini meadows, offering opportunities for residents to enjoy nature and for children to play. In addition to providing benefits for residents, they also present valuable habitats for pollinators and other forms of wildlife.
The council has appointed specialist environmental consultancy Pegasus Group to carry out a detailed survey of the sites, public consultation, planning and design work. This study will enable the community nature spaces to become a reality during the 2021/22 financial year, subject to further funding approval from the Welsh Government.
The project is likely to involve transforming some of the smaller and less well-used amenity play areas into community nature spaces. Meanwhile, the council will expand the playground at the central open space next to the Rockfield Community Centre to cater for children of a wider age range and provide more accessible play equipment.
Councillor Jane Pratt, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for parks and open spaces said:
“Among the lessons that the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have taught us is the importance of a variety of good quality and easily accessible open spaces so families and individuals can spend time together outdoors experiencing nature on their doorstep.”
Councillor Richard John, cabinet member with responsibility for bio-diversity added:
“This project is another step in the council’s journey to improve local environments and benefit pollinators.”
In addition to engaging with local residents, the council will involve other project stakeholders including the local county council member, Monmouth Town Council, Transition Monmouth, ACE (Action on Climate Emergency), Gwent Wildlife Trust, Rockfield Community Centre and NRW (Natural Resources Wales).