Work Set To Start On £300,000 Upgrade Of Popular Oakhill Nature Reserve
Work will begin soon on extensive improvements to make a popular nature reserve more welcoming, accessible and informative for visitors.
From left, Councillor Victoria Aitken, from East Riding of Yorkshire Council, David Harris of Siemens Mobility, and Friends of Oakhill’s Kevin Flynn at the entrance to the access pathway to Oakhill Nature Reserve. A project is about to begin to make the Goole beauty spot more welcoming, accessible and informative for visitors. Picture - Hull News & Pictures
Oakhill Nature Reserve in Goole, East Yorkshire, will benefit from a £300,000 upgrade, including improved parking facilities, landscaping and a bespoke art installation, as well as information boards and directional signage throughout the reserve.
The Goole Town Deal Board, a collective of public sector organisations and major private businesses tasked with securing investment to regenerate the town, is contributing £150,000 to the project.
The same sum is coming as a matched contribution from Siemens Mobility as part of the development of a pioneering rail manufacturing facility close to the nature reserve, which will create up to 700 new jobs and build a lasting legacy for the area.
The Oakhill Nature Reserve project is one of six initiatives going ahead after the town deal board successfully applied for £750,000 of accelerated funding from the Government’s Town Deal process. The others include repair and maintenance works on Goole Market Hall and Victoria Pleasure Ground.
The Oakhill works are due to begin in early January, with the majority of the improvements expected to be completed by March.
The 150-acre Oakhill Nature Reserve features meadows and woodlands and is home to a wide variety of wildlife and over 200 plant and wildflower species. Picture - Friends of Oakhill
Joseph Richardson, Chair of the Goole Town Deal Board, said:
“Goole is known for its industry and for its road, rail and water transport connections, but less well known is the wonderful Oakhill Nature Reserve, nestled in between the port, the canal and the railway off Tom Pudding Way.
“Cited by TripAdvisor as the ‘pearl’ in Goole’s crown, this 150-acre nature reserve contains stunning ponds, meadows, woodlands and wetlands and is home to a wide variety of wildlife and over 200 plant and wildflower species. It is a real haven for nature lovers and those who enjoy the great outdoors and access to the natural environment.
“As Chair of the Goole Town Deal Board I am pleased that we are able to make additional investment in this important natural resource for the people of Goole and beyond, to help this wonderful place provide family-friendly enjoyment for years to come.”
Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy, who is a member of the town deal board, and played a critical role in securing Town Deal status and funding for the projects, said:
“This is a great scheme and I thank Siemens for matching the Government's £150,000 funding for this project. Oakhill is a really important part of the local environment and this funding will now ensure it is even more accessible and can be enjoyed by more local people.
“This is one of a number of schemes in the town for which the Government has provided advanced funding of £750,000 to bring forward, ahead of the up to £25 million our town will receive in total via the Government's Town Deal for Goole."
The nature reserve site was once a busy hive of industry, with railway sidings, shunting yards, sheds housing steam engines and brickyards. Over time it has been reclaimed by nature and is now enjoyed by walkers and cyclists living in Goole and the surrounding area.
The improvement works include the resurfacing of a car park off Tom Pudding Way used by visitors to the reserve and the creation of 20 marked parking bays.
Landscaping work will be carried out around the car park and a sculpture capturing the natural character of Oakhill will be sited at the entrance to the pathway leading to the reserve. Further installations could follow at other locations within the reserve.
Information boards will be placed in the car park, along the pedestrian access and throughout the reserve, telling the story of Oakhill and detailing the rich and varied natural environment. Map boards and directional signage will also make the reserve easier to navigate and there will be improved seating.
Siemens Mobility’s rail manufacturing plant is being developed next to Oakhill, with the first phase due to be operational in 2023. It will be the centrepiece of a state-of-the-art “rail village” at the Goole 36 enterprise zone, including a research and development and digital innovation cluster.
Oakhill Nature Reserve is a haven for nature lovers and those who enjoy the great outdoors and access to the natural environment. Picture - Friends of Oakhill
David Harris, Construction Project Manager for Siemens Mobility, which is represented on the town deal board, said:
“Our commitment to Goole goes beyond the development of a world-class rail facility and the creation of hundreds of skilled jobs. We are a part of this community and we appreciate how important Oakhill Nature Reserve is to the people of this town.
“These works will improve the visitor experience significantly and we are delighted to be working with the Goole Town Deal Board to realise the reserve’s potential.”
East Riding of Yorkshire Council is represented on the town deal board and is managing the selection process for the commissioned art installation.
Councillor Victoria Aitken, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Inward Investment, who is also a member of the town deal board, said:
“It is crucial for the local authority to work in partnership with leading businesses to not only create new skilled jobs, but also to promote the area.
“The refurbishment of Oakhill Nature Reserve will benefit the whole community and shows the value of such a collaborative approach.”
The Friends of Oakhill conservation group has been consulted throughout the process and has played an important role in providing details about the reserve’s history and natural habitat, which will be displayed on the information boards.
Kevin Flynn, Chair of Friends of Oakhill, said:
“Oakhill is an incredibly popular recreational area and we are absolutely delighted with the improvements that are to be made.
“It will become an important educational site when the information boards are in place, enabling us to invite schools across the area in for visits, so that children can learn more about Oakhill.
“We have had excellent dialogue throughout and this funding from the Goole Town Deal Board and Siemens Mobility will help us realise our aspirations for Oakhill.”
To find out more about the Goole Town Deal and the projects it is supporting, visit www.gooletowndeal.co.uk