Clean-up plan for land

DERELICT land could be given a makeover as part of a scheme that will also see the use of a pioneering new way of tackling pollutants.

Durham University is working in partnership with Easington Colliery Regeneration Partnership and Durham County Council to pilot new technologies to improve the health of soil at a site in Crawlaw Road, Easington Colliery.

The work at the former lorry garage and coach park, known locally as Pygall Old Coachworks, is part of a £1m project by the university to reclaim underused industrial sites and improve the local environment for use by local residents.

It is hoped that once the work at the site is complete, funding can be found to clean up the land and transform it into a community garden.

Christine Stoker, of Easington Colliery Regeneration Project, said: “It’s great to be involved in such an innovative project and to be part of the next stage, which will hopefully see us bring a community eyesore back into use, even if it’s just as a green space.”

Experts from the university will mix compost and recycled iron and manganese oxides into the soil at the site.

Karen Johnson, a hydrogeologist from Durham University, said: “These minerals are naturally present in soil and form part of its natural defence mechanism against man-made pollutants, we’re just adding a bit more to boost the soil’s health.”

The soil will be monitored for a set period to determine if the minerals have been successful in improving the health of the soil.

Durham University has removed the existing rubbish and overgrown plants, old fencing posts and tarmac with the intention of seeding the site with grass.

It is also hoped that seating, a new kerb edge to separate the site from the road and a low fence could also be installed together with limited planting of flowers and bulbs, but it is dependant on funding.

Residents are being asked to comment on the proposals through a questionnaire, which they should return to Easington Social Welfare Centre, Seaside Lane South, Easington Colliery, Peterlee, County Durham, SR8 3PL by Friday, May 18.