A parish council has announced a number of proposed projects centred around the heart of one of the villages it represents. The key project by Checkley Parish Council is the creation of an accessible footpath into Upper Tean’s recreation ground to allow villagers for the first time since it’s inception in Victorian times to enter and enjoy the green space on an all weather wheelchair friendly and safe riverside footpath.
A parish council has announced a number of proposed projects centred around the heart of one of the villages it represents.
The key project by Checkley Parish Council is the creation of an accessible footpath into Upper Tean’s recreation ground to allow villagers for the first time since it’s inception in Victorian times to enter and enjoy the green space on an all weather wheelchair friendly and safe riverside footpath.
A spokesman for the parish council explained: “The current alternative is a stroll along Riverside Road, beautiful but always in competition with domestic and farm traffic.
“The new footpath links with a number of existing accessible footpaths alongside the river and to the centre of the village.
“Grant funding under Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s Improving Disabled Access to Public Facilities has already been applied for and the outcome of the bid for funding is eagerly awaited.
“The experience of enjoying the green open spaces will be enhanced by several complementary projects. The most exciting of these is an art installation ‘And The World Changed’ by Emma Varughese a well-known creative practitioner who is resident in Upper Tean.
“And The World Changed is a long-term, outdoor installation starting in Well Meadow Gardens, taking in the old water hand pump on the High Street, the recreation ground, the footbridge and riverside walk to the rear of Tean Hall Mills.
“Taking direct inspiration from the natural world, And The World Changed uses large-scale log installations, worked on the cross sections, each one includes a brass plaque engraved with poetic/lyrical text, accompanied by visual art rendered through pyrography and decorative metal hardware.
“And The World Changed aims to create a doorstep, cultural offer that reflects on the recent period of stilling and slow down we have been experiencing.
“As we oscillate between ‘old’ and ‘new’ ways of living, And The World Changed provides a creative lens to reflect on the ways we interact with the natural world.”
Creation of the art installation is set to be completed by April 30.
Emma has already, with the full support of the parish council and Upper Tean’s Residents’ Association, secured grant funding from the Arts Council for the project.
The parish council plans to establish a new sensory garden alongside the footpath to be dedicated to NHS staff and key workers as a “thank you for their tireless dedication throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Other projects are set to include tree planting in both green spaces including the initiation of a new Community Orchard, grant monies for planting has already been secured from Staffordshire County Council’s Community Climate Action Fund with the support of county councillor Mark Deaville.
The council spokesman continued: “In Well Meadow Gardens the three existing islands beds will have newly planted trees and the Victorian style lighting is due to be painted in a traditional street furniture black.
“A further Residents’ Association volunteer project to paint the roadside railings in Riverside Road is also planned, permission to go ahead has already been given by the Highways Authority and the parish council has agreed to fund paint and painting materials.
“Subject to funding being secured the projects are due to be completed in summer 2021 at which point the parish council will consider giving the two green spaces a new overall designation as a park with a new name, the most favoured suggestion from villagers.
“Well Meadow Gardens and the recreation ground will keep their individual identities under the new overall name.
“In the longer term the parish council is exploring the possibility of a new village Heritage Trail and footpath signage taking in the new pathway and both green spaces.”
District and parish councillor Pete Wilkinson said: “This project has many aspects and it shows how Checkley Parish Council is adapting to the changing world ‘And The World Changed’ is the theme of Emma’s project.
“With the many restrictions as a consequence of Covid-19 we have become more aware of our own surroundings and this project embraces this and allows all sectors of the community to enjoy and access it.
“With the orchard and tree planting Checkley Parish Council are taking steps towards tackling climate change and shows that we can all make changes and adaptations to help towards the goal of zero carbon emissions.”
District and parish councillor Keith Flunder said: “The fantastic inclusive nature of these projects including the footpath, art installations and tree planting projects, supporting both the whole community, as well as disabled and wheelchair users, needs to be celebrated.
“The separation of the walkers and other users of public spaces away from roads, is essential over the coming years, as all local councils work to provide more user-friendly environments.
“I fully endorse all these projects and I’m proud not only as chair of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, but also as a Checkley Parish Councillor, to support such endeavours.”
County and district councillor Mark Deaville added: “These are exciting and wonderful projects that will further enhance the heart of our village.
“Our local green space and the heritage of our village has never been more important to us than it has over the past difficult and challenging year. These projects will be of great value to our mental wellbeing as well as our physical well-being.
“I am delighted to support these proposals, they will provide massive long term benefits to everyone in Upper Tean.
“I spent my childhood growing up in the Riverside Road area, playing football and cricket until dusk. I am therefore personally delighted to see these projects progress.
“We love our village, and we love our community – these proposed projects will make Upper Tean an even better place to live, to learn and to play.”
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