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New pocket park for Moira Street

Published on 06 June 2017

AN OVERGROWN site on Moira Street in Leicester has been transformed into a new pocket park, thanks to the efforts of the local community, an environmental charity and the city council.

The former play area – on privately-owned land – had fallen into disrepair in recent years, with much of the space overgrown with nettles and vegetation.

Now, thanks to a £10,000 grant from the Government, £16,000 from the city council’s economic regeneration budget, and the hard work of green charity Grace Works and local volunteers, the site has been transformed.

A circular bench now surrounds the park’s central tree, a herb planter has been installed, fruit trees and perennial flowers have been planted, and a new path through the site allows access for everyone.

Bat and bird boxes have also been installed to encourage local wildlife to use the space.

Joseph Murphy of Grace Works – which has leased the land from advertising company JC Decaux at a peppercorn rate – has been working on the project since 2015.

“Green space is so important to our health and well-being,” he said. 

“On behalf of the community, I’d like to thank all those who have helped create this new pocket park, including the Belgrave Playhouse, which has given us so much support and helped plant the fruit trees.

“The new garden will be used and enjoyed by everyone who lives in the area.”

JC Decaux donated £500 to kick-start the clear-up, while construction firm SLM Builders has also supported the project, helping with the initial clearance of the site.

The Department for Communities and Local Government supported the regeneration of the derelict space with a £10,000 grant.

All the planting has been done by volunteers, while the city council carried out the hard landscaping works and installed benches and a water feature.

Director of planning, transportation and economic development at the city council Andrew Smith said: “We’re very pleased that we were able to support Grace Works and the local community in transforming an eyesore into an attractive pocket park that everyone in the area will enjoy.

“The hard work of the volunteers has helped provide some much-needed green space in the heart of Belgrave, and I’m sure that the new pocket park’s herbs and wildflowers will be appreciated by the local community for many years to come.” 

The new pocket park will be formally opened at 11am on Saturday 10 June, with priests from the local Hindu temple joining the community to bless the park.  

It will be open every day and locked at night by members of the local community.