Sewing seeds for a brighter future

WILDFLOWER MEADOWS ... Couns John Anglin and John Wood, left, help sow the seeds with volunteers.
WILDFLOWER MEADOWS ... Couns John Anglin and John Wood, left, help sow the seeds with volunteers.

THE seeds of a brighter future are being sown all over South Tyneside.

Wildflower Meadows is an environmental scheme creating low maintenance grasslands, specifically planted with plants and flowers.

The two latest areas to be planted up are Westoe Cemetery and the Horsley Hill roundabout in South Shields.

South Tyneside Council says the project makes areas more natural, benefits wildlife and saves a huge amount of money in maintenance costs.

The council currently spends nearly £1m per year on tending to seven million square metres of grassland.

It is estimated that leaving some of that land to become wildflower sites will save an estimated £330,000 each year.

The scheme at Westoe came about thanks to funding from the Riverside Community Area Forum.

Complaints

Coun John Anglin, chairman of the Riverside CAF, said: “It all started after some residents approached us complaining about the state of the area beside the cemetery and around the same time the council launched the environmental scheme. The planting will make the area really nice and we’re hoping to attract lots of birds and bees there too.”

At Horsley Hill roundabout the seeding was completed by local residents, the area’s Residents Association, the Green Space Team, Tracey Richardson and ward councillor Eileen Leask.

In some areas of the borough the council is using native British wildflower seed mixes, as these are more appropriate to sow in naturalised areas such as Whitburn Cliff tops and Mill Dene cricket field in Jarrow.

These seed mixes will provide a wide range of beautiful native wildflower species which are particularly good for our native wildlife.

Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “It’s wonderful to see just how the Wildflower Meadows scheme is starting to come to life across the borough.

“The creation of meadow land is great for the local environment as it provides valuable elements for wildlife but also adds to the look of South Tyneside.

“People will be able to enjoy the beautiful flowers that will blossom time and time again.” Coun Eileen Leask, ward member for Horsley Hill, said: “The planting project will turn the roundabout into our very own wildflower meadow.

“Members of the residents’ association and young children took part in the seeding process.

“This is important as the young people will now be able to watch the flowers grow and say that they helped to plant them.

Coun John Wood, ward member for Beacon and Bents, said: “It will visually improve the area for visitors and local residents who regularly use the cemetery and the flowers will also improve the habitat for wildlife.

“The upkeep will also be maintained with help from volunteers in the ward, which promises to ensure the rewards from the hard work will be around for years to come.”

Twitter @shieldsgazpaul