Access to a nature reserve in central Sleaford will be improved with a new ramp and a revamped section of footpath.
Lollycocks Field in Sleaford is home to an array of wildlife and has seen a number of improvements over the past year through the partnership £1.29 million Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Project, including a kingfisher nesting bank, hedgerow planting and scrapes for biodiversity and an extended boardwalk around the pond to protect ground vegetation while providing access.
Now, as part of the remaining works for the project, the steps down to the nature reserve from Eastgate will be changed to a ramp allowing better access for prams and wheelchair users. A 140m long resin path will also be laid along the existing earthen path, from the new ramp until it meets with the existing tarmac path which runs over the bridge near Sleaford Leisure Centre. To help ensure the works are carried out safely and in the shortest time frame possible, this section of path will close for the duration. The works by contractor A.G.A Group are due to start on Tuesday 11 April and end, weather permitting, on 3 May. An alternative route through Lollycocks Field is available using the footpath first which runs along the river Slea and then the subsequent path which leads to the entrance near the pedestrian crossing on Eastgate, outside of William Alvey School.
The work will also see a new wooden gate and fencing in the same style and colour of the existing fencing added along a small stretch of land where Lollycocks Field meets a section of the Council car park adjacent. This will restrict access on foot through the car park from Lollycocks during school hours only, when the car park is particularly busy with moving cars. Existing access through Lollycocks Field itself onto Eastgate and over the bridge will not change. Those parking in the Council car park can still enter Lollycocks on foot via Eastgate as normal at all times, and access Lollycocks and the bridge directly from the car park outside school times.
North Kesteven District Council Economy and Place Director Andy McDonough said: “The new, wider path and the ramp replacing the current steps down onto the site will help improve access for everyone who wishes to visit Lollycocks Field and enjoy all that it offers.
“The path is also a popular route for people who walk to work and families getting to school through Lollycocks Field, who will benefit too from the upgrade as the current path can get especially muddy during winter. The vegetation either side will also be better protected from footfall. Closing this path for the duration is necessary to ensure safety and help keep the length of the works to a minimum. We appreciate this may be an inconvenience and I would like to thank everyone for their patience while the works take place.”
The improvements form part of the ongoing Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Project, a partnership project funded by the European Regional Development Fund, South Kesteven and North Kesteven district councils, The Environment Agency, and the National Trust.
A stretch of existing footpath along the northern bank of the River Slea, between the railway bridge and the old Cranwell railway line, is also currently being improved as part of the works identified under the Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Project. The path is degraded and difficult to use in places, due to the original materials wearing away over time.
This section of path is being restored and revamped now by contractor A.G.A Group in order to create a metre-wide gravel pathway and provide a level passageway there once more.
To ensure everyone’s safety and help keep the length of works and disruption to a minimum, that section of existing footpath is now closed for the duration. These works are due to end on Monday 24 April weather permitting, and an alternative route is suggested via Drove Lane.
The Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Project has already seen a series of works completed in the town. There have been new features created in-channel within the River Slea and along its verges to promote biodiversity through berms and bankside improvements, with this work carried out by Lions Environmental Contractors. There are some final works to be carried out along part of the river bank close to Sleaford Leisure Centre. The work at Lollycocks Field in Sleaford also as part of the project including the kingfisher nesting bank, planting and extended boardwalk has been undertaken by Hill Holt Wood as contractor.
Follow North Kesteven District Council @northkestevendc and the project @withamslea on social media for updates.