The Avenue Opens to the Public
A new public park has opened on the site of a former coking works in Derbyshire after a 20-year remediation process.
The 50-hectare park in Wingerworth on the outskirts of Chesterfield, features a football ground, cricket pitch and fishing ponds as well as walking, cycling and horse riding routes.
It is part of a 97-hectare brownfield development funded by Homes England on the site of the Avenue coking works – thought to be one of Europe’s most contaminated locations.
The Government agency managed the creation of the new park and is now working with Kier Living to build the first of an expected 1,100 homes, up to five hectares for business and community and leisure facilities.
Homes England senior development manager for accelerated delivery Anastasija Clayton, said: "The opening of the Avenue to the public marks a new phase in the redevelopment of this former industrial site. "The transformed site offers new leisure opportunities to people and will become a key part of a new community which is planned for the area."
Reclamation and landscaping was delivered by VSD Avenue (a joint venture comprising Volker Stevin, DEC and Sita Remediation) on behalf of Homes England. Consultants and landscape designers from The Wood Group and local landscape sub-contractors NT Killingley worked with VSD Avenue on the project.
The remediation work carried out so far has been recognised by independent industry organisation (CEEQUAL) and given an excellent rating in acknowledgement of the quality of the work carried out. There are still three areas on the site which continue to undergo remediation and are fenced off to the public.
The Avenue opened as a colliery in the 1880s and later expanded to include lime and iron works but became derelict by the Second World War. Construction of the Avenue coking works began in 1952 and became operational in 1956, producing smokeless fuel through coal carbonisation and employing 800 people at its height. It also produced gas and processed chemical by-products. The site closed in 1992 with the loss of more than 500 jobs.