Last year, REC took part in a multidisciplinary regeneration project at Dumers Lane in Bury. Thanks to our Ecologists, what was once overrun with weeds and litter is now home to a diverse range of endangered wildlife. From the early 1970s until 2005, this site had been home to Halls Cough Sweets, and hundreds of workers. However, what was once one of the last successful manufacturing operations in Radcliffe, the site had lain dormant since its closure.
At the end of 2013 however, Property Alliance Group announced a £28 million regeneration project to re-develop the site for residential units, industrial space and office accommodation. A year on, and we can really see the effects of the work starting to take shape – in place of the once rundown buildings are the foundations of an extraordinary development, and along the riverbank an open public space and successful wildlife corridor.
Getting the wildlife corridor, however, was no easy feat. Out of 27 acres of waste and derelict land, 7 acres of it surrounded the River Irwell’s banks. Overgrown with Himalayan Balsam, an extremely invasive plant that can contaminate land and riverbanks downstream, the site was inaccessible to both the public and wildlife.
Dr Neil Madden, therefore, put a strategy in place to eradicate the plant and make room for the species that had been forced out. After extensive land and flood work, and with the weeds out of the way, Dumers Lane became home to three main habitats – Grassland Mosaic, Grassland Beach and a species rich hedgerow. Purpose built for a range of birds and mammals, including endangered ground nesting birds, otters, bats and a sand martin and Kingfisher wall, these habitats were created to protect vulnerable species.
And to our delight, we now have solid evidence that the wildlife corridor a year on is being put to good use, and the sand martins have made themselves well and truly at home. Thanks to the super Ecology team for once again doing such a brilliant job.