Nature lovers are being invited to take part in a series of ‘community conversations’ designed to help shape the future of the Trent Valley landscape near Tamworth.
The series of four evening meetings take place in Tamworth in January and February during which people will be asked to share ideas and influence plans for spending up to £3million in grant money from the Heritage Lottery Fund on improving the river landscape.
The funding will enable a wide range of environmental, cultural and community-led projects to take place on the striking Trent Valley river corridors, including the Tame, Trent and Dove river valleys, covering some 190 square kilometres from Tamworth to Uttoxeter.
Transforming the Trent Valley Landscape Partnership is being led by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and is made up of a number of quarry operators and statutory and voluntary organisations, including Tamworth Borough Council.
The first stage of the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund of £256,300 is being spent on an 18-month development phase with partners working together with the community to develop a vision and plan for the landscape. This will support the development of a larger and more detailed proposal being submitted this year to secure the bulk of the funding.
Transforming the Trent Valley will sit alongside and link in to the current Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme which has been delivering £2.5million worth of improvements to the River Tame landscape between Tamworth and Birmingham since 2014, as part of a separate successful lottery bid. Led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, the Tame Valley project has focused on ‘creating a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all’.
The series of meetings regarding the new Trent Valley project will be held in Tamworth town centre from January 17 and will focus on the areas of Tamworth, Hopwas, Whittington and Elford. Organisers will be aiming to record the local community’s views, concerns and values around the issues facing the river landscape and develop ideas on how the grant money could help improve it.
Overall, the project aims to create a more robust and attractive landscape for residents and visitors to enjoy, while revealing its archaeological and industrial heritage, restoring characteristic features such as meandering river channels and water meadows, creating new and improved wildlife habitats and improving access for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders, including new opportunities for sport and recreation.
Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Culture, said: “There has been a significant focus on the river valleys through and around Tamworth in recent years to restore, enhance and protect them for wildlife and members of the public to enjoy.
“Lots of work has taken place on the river landscape in Tamworth itself as part of the Tame Valley Wetlands Scheme, thanks to funding from National Lottery players. This work is ongoing and nature lovers are now being given the opportunity to inform a similar project in the neighbouring Trent Valley. This project will enable us to consider how we can strengthen physical and virtual links between local communities and different parts of the river valley in Staffordshire and Warwickshire.
“Tamworth Borough Council is an active partner in all of these projects and we hope to see lots of local people taking the opportunity to get involved and give their views on protecting these vital features for the future.”
Louise Morris, Landscape Partnership Manager for Transforming the Trent Valley, said: “We have been working hard over the last few months to really develop our understanding of the Trent Valley and an important part of this is understanding the views of the communities who live, work and play there.
“These ‘community conversations’ are an important way for people to get involved and the ideas that are put forward will influence how the various projects are developed.”
All are welcome at the community conversations, but people need to be willing to take part in all the discussions. For more information about the sessions or to join the conversation, please contact Helen Bovey on 07775 633205, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.