On 27th December, Friends of Nature’s World spent a cold morning weeding the Nature’s World car park.
FoNW obtained a variety of tools to use for the day, thanks to a volunteer group in South Middlesbrough. Despite the icy conditions, the group made good use of the wheel barrows, spades and secateurs.
It was hoped that Middlesbrough Council would see the groups dedication to maintaining the site (even at Christmas) and how hopeful they are that the New Year will offer new opportunities for the Nature’s World site.
The group aims to maintain the grounds until a suitable plan is accepted by Middlesbrough Council. It is hoped that by raising the profile of the site, potential investors, charities, community groups and the public will be reminded what an asset it is to the local community and Middlesbrough as a whole. There are not many places where children can actively learn about nature and the environment.
Allegedly, there is currently a £1.6 million pounds debt owed to the National Lottery which would have to be paid back by an investor if the council is to sell the land commercially. If Nature’s World is transferred to benefit the community (community asset transfer) or to a charity then the debt would be cancelled out.
This is probably why there has been little interest in Nature’s World since its closure. To a housing developer, £1.6 million would still be a worthwhile cost for a 26 acre site.
Despite not being allocated for new housing in the Local Plan, it could still be sold for a developer to land bank.
Friends of Nature’s World are optimistic that they can promote the benefits of Nature’s World and look after the site on a voluntary basis for as long as it takes.