The Newlands Project – which stands for New Economic Environments through Woodlands – is funded by the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and Forestry Commission (FC), and is set to extend the regeneration of current derelict land into community woodland. The latest award of £36m extends the project to cover some 900 hectares across the North West.

“There’s a legacy of industrial heritage in this region,” said an NWDA spokesperson to edie.

“This project will give the derelict land a re-birth and show that if you improve an area esthetically, that you can improve its status and boost development.”

The programme has a commitment of a total investment of over £59 million pounds.

The NWDA and the Forestry Commission (FC) re-affirmed their 5 year- long partnership with the announcement earlier this week of an additional £36 million for the ‘Newlands’ programme, which was launched with an investment of more than £23 million in 2003.

Sites include former landfill sites that have been capped and fully tested for safety, as well as gravel quarries – all of which will be regenerated and turned into green space.

According to the team running the project, Newlands has already delivered impressively across five sites in Merseyside and Greater Manchester – with two sites completely transformed, and local businesses and communities already reaping the benefits.

One of these sites, Moston Vale in Harpurhey, Manchester (an area in the top 5% of the Index of Multiple Deprivation), received £1.7million in August 2005. Its development, including the remediation and re-landscaping of the former landfill site, the creation of extensive solar powered floodlit pathways, woodland areas, and sports facilities is intended to drive significant added investment to the area, enhancing the adjacent Central Park Business Park and adding value to the local Housing Marketing Renewal area.

All sites that are being developed under the first £23m development of Newlands – the additional money that was announced on Monday to extend the scheme across Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria has not, at present, been allocated to any sites, and there is no decision made as of yet as to where these sites will be.

The scheme also includes a budge to follow the development, which will contribute towards maintenance for up to 15 years following a project’s completion.

Dana Gornitzki

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