H&G Canal Trust has won an International Green Apple Award 2016 for the Built Environment and Architectural Heritage. The Award was given for Dymock Partnership Project.
The Project, a partnership between H&G Canal Trust and Dymock Parish Council, and supported by Two Rivers Housing Association, Designers Tony Gee and Partners and the landowner, Tomack Developments, was formulated carefully to meet requirements of all four parties.
The purpose was to create the Canal Basin in the centre of the village combined with much needed community benefits for Dymock village in the form of additional parking, a play area, a new footpath, a greatly improved public environment and, most importantly, twenty new houses, mostly already occupied, to accommodate the increased population essential to protect the village school, the community-owned pub and other village facilities.
We are most grateful for the support of our long term partner Keyway in constructing the basin, and after its completion H&G CT volunteers planted over 500 trees together with native wildflower mix and wild daffodil bulbs, rescued by H&G CT volunteers from the site before the development began. In the next few months H&G CT will be working with the Parish Council to install benches and complete the landscaping around the basin, and we shall also be installing both a 65m deep borehole to provide a long-term top-up water supply and an overflow channel for the basin.
As part of the deal, one of the houses was purchased at cost price by H&G CT for renting out, to provide an income stream for the maintenance of the Canal. This is in line with H&G CT’s plan to provide a financially sustainable independent Canal which does not require support from public bodies or other charities for its future operation and maintenance, but can be enjoyed by everyone. In addition the five Open Market houses pay an annual sum towards the upkeep of the Canal.
The site for the Canal Basin and new development was previously of no value to the community but has become a major asset. All parties have gained through the success of this collaborative project. The complex legal process required to bring this to fruition over nearly eight years required a huge commitment to best practice by senior personnel: in H&G CT the professional legal advisers were led by David Penny, a committed full-time volunteer. In Two Rivers Housing Association, senior staff were also committed to the success of the project, and Tomack Developments together with the builder, GP Thomas, overcame numerous obstacles to achieve success. The Chairman of Dymock Parish Council was supportive throughout, and his members were also determined to achieve the promised benefits for the whole Dymock community.
The Dymock Partnership Project was one of more than 100 nominations for the Green Apple Environment Awards for 2016, part of the international campaign to find the greenest companies, councils and communities.
This is the second time H&G CT has won a Green Apple Award – we were a Gold Award winner in 2014 in the Eco Tourism category for our work, in particular, at Over and The Wharf House.