Telford Millennium Community (TMC) is a new sustainable community being developed through a joint venture between the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), Telford and Wrekin Council and Sanctuary Housing. The theme of the millennium community is ‘Lifelong Learning’.
The 36 hectare TMC site was a former mining area with vegetated spoil mounds which provided habitats for numerous species including great crested newts, grass snakes and several Shropshire Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) invertebrates. In 2005 the site was remediated to create development platforms and open spaces.
TEP was commissioned by HCA to produce a Landscape Management Plan for the open spaces. The aims of the plan were to:
• reflect the diversity of the site;
• satisfy conditions associated with both the Natural England Newt Licence and planning permission for the development;
• provide costs to enable budgets to be set up for the future management of the site; and
• ensure that it could be understood by the community to allow them to undertake the management of the site or parts of the site.
In 2011, TEP consulted with the Parish Council and other stakeholders to identify opportunities for community engagement in the open spaces. HCA funded a six-week programme of weekly two hour teaching sessions in the local primary school. TEP’s landscape managers delivered the teaching, focussing on woodland animals and their habitats.
Pupils were responsible for planning, researching, budgeting, designing and building habitat hotels for mini beasts, amphibians and small reptiles. The result has been the creation and management of seven “habitat hotels”, six in the open spaces of TMC and one in the school grounds.