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Plans to create new bluebell wood for Sunderland on land saved from housing development

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Plans are being drawn up to create a new bluebell wood in a community where proposals for new homes were scrapped.

West Park at East Herrington was recently saved from development when a proposal for housing development was deleted from Sunderland City Council’s long-term strategy after hundreds of residents raised concerns.

Former councillor and mayor of Sunderland Les Scott, left, with coun Stuart Porthouse in West Park, East Herrington.

Former councillor and mayor of Sunderland Les Scott, left, with coun Stuart Porthouse in West Park, East Herrington.

England and Liverpool footballer Jordan Henderson, marathon runner Patrick Martin and Olympic medal-winning boxer Tony Jeffries, who all grew up in the area, were among those backing the fight against the plans.

Former councillor Leslie Scott, who previously served as mayor of Sunderland, was involved in the campaign to save West Park is now proposing the bluebell wood which he says will greatly improve the look of the area.

Mr Scott said: “The St Chad’s councillors set in motion 25 years ago the bulb and tree planting programme in the ward and it still continues today.

“Herrington, Farringdon and Lakeside all benefit each year from the mass displays of spring bulbs.

“A drift of English bluebells under the tree canopy in the recreation section of West Park would be a fitting addition to the natural beauty of the park and I hope a marker for the great victory the community achieved in saving the park from future development.

“I have tested the idea on a number of the community groups in the area and the idea has received positive support.

“The area in the park best suited for the planting is Park Wall corner which has ideal conditions and does not inhibit other use of the main grassed area.

“Councillor Stuart Porthouse and his colleagues have committed £1,000 of community chest fund to purchase 3,500 bulbs for the project to get started.”

Councillor Porthouse, who serves St Chad’s ward, added: “It sounds like a lot of bulbs, but to get the impact we want we need even more.

“Les will be writing to local community groups and societies inviting them to participate in the project and purchase a pack of bulbs to extend the planting.

“I understand the village show group have already signed up and pledged their £50.

“We are looking to confirm Saturday, October 20, as a community planting day.

“I am looking forward to the establishment of a Friends of West Park group as we expect the determination on the application for village green status to be made in October.”