Community garden pays tribute to town's industrial heritage

March 24th, 2016 by Robert Weatherall in Home Group News

A group of people stand in a community garden

An area of land which had been a no go area has been turned into a community garden which pays tribute to a town’s industrial heritage.

Affordable landlord Home Group has invested £260,000 to transform a potentially dangerous pocket of land into an area which can now be enjoyed by the entire community.

Home Group owns 715 homes, along with public spaces, in Egremont, Cumbria. The former mining town has a number of mine shafts which date back to its industrial hay-day.

As mines closed down the shafts were covered over and records of their exact location lost. In recent years some of the shafts started to collapse leading to subsidence.

Aware of possible collapse Home Group began investigations to see where hidden mineshafts could be on its land.

Elsa Brailey, Home Group head of development and delivery, said: “As a not-for-profit housing provider it’s important to Home Group that we invest in our communities and we’re delighted to have been able to make this mineshaft secure and create a garden area which can be enjoyed by everyone.

“When we discovered there was a mineshaft below our land we fenced it off to the public and installed monitoring equipment. We’ve now made the area permanently safe by employing specialist contractors to cap the shaft”.

Capping the shaft, near Howbank Road, involved experts building a temporary bridge over the mineshaft and from that elevated position they were able to safely inject large quantities of grout mixture into the shaft creating a permanent seal.

The cap was then landscaped to create a pleasant area which has been reopened to the public.

Elsa added: “We relocated four families who were living close to the area and we demolished their homes. When the work was being undertaken we discovered large sandstone blocks which had been used as footings for the winding gear of the mineshaft.

“We’ve now incorporated these into the community garden design and they will act as a long standing tribute to the industrial heritage of Egremont and the hundreds of men who worked in the mine.”

Following the capping of the mineshaft the Smithfield and Longcroft tenants and residents association has disbanded. Association funds have been donated to Egremont amenities fund and Eggflood.