COMMUNITY groups have had their say on how they want to see their estate improved.
New housing developments are being built at Haregate Road, Tittesworth Avenue, Horsecroft Farm, Haregate Hall and O'Hare Place, all in Haregate, Leek, along with a new community centre in Queens Drive to replace the current venue in Haregate Road.
The development is being carried out by Ascent, a joint venture between Your Housing Group and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to build 400 affordable homes across the district by 2016.
The centre is due to be completed by June, while the homes are set to be finished by February 2015.
As part of the redevelopment, Ascent is providing funding to improve the estate's open spaces and play areas.
A consultation was held at Haregate Community Centre to gauge residents' ideas for how they want to see the estate's play areas and open spaces improved.
Carl Grannell, director of John McCall Architects, which has drawn up the plans for the estate, said: "When approval was secured for the housing development, a point was made that housing is not the 'be all and end all'. There will be additional benefits in terms of the environment and improvements with a new community centre and urban open space.
"Before we made any definitive plans we wanted feedback from residents about the good and bad points about the existing open spaces.
"We got ideas about what people want to see, specifically whether it's adventure play, or traditional play, equipment, furniture, play space and seating; it's not just about the kids, but also the supervising adults.
"This is the first step in establishing the basic criteria which in the next six months will be put together into a definitive plan.
"Tied in with that we are looking at how the sites can additionally benefit by things like wildflower planting and any other empty sites which can be used to help wildlife in the area, and we have invited Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to join in this consultation with that aim."
Amin Hashdi, new business manager for Ascent, added: "We are also interested in what people are saying about The Waste at the top of the estate.
"We've got money from the landscape budget for things such as landscaping by the community centre, screening, improving the roundabout in Queens Drive, and we may be able to give some to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Your Housing, to fund some community groups."
Zan Jackson, wildlife gardening officer for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, is leading the Haregate Community Garden and Cultivation Community Project. She said: "We have funding from the Big Lottery Fund to run 36 sessions over 12 months to get people interested in growing wild flowers, fruit and vegetables.
"I've been gathering ideas of what people want to see in the community garden at the centre and I'm hoping to work with Ascent on this.
"I want to be involved in supporting wildlife areas across the estate and see if we could get little places planted to create a wildlife corridor to encourage wildlife and get residents growing more in their gardens as well."
Zan has been working with groups and organisations using the centre and St Paul's Church in Novi Lane to find out what they would like to see.
He added: "It's surprising how many young people have said they want things to improve the environment and encourage wildlife and nature."
Some of the things community groups in Haregate would like to see:
St Paul's Youth Group
Pond with frogs and lilies
Creatures – fish aquarium, bees, butterflies, caterpillars
Flowers – poppies, buttercups, daffodils, tulip, daisies, roses, lavender
Stroke club at Haregate Community Centre
Cauliflower, kohl rabbi
Buddlia for butterflies
Bug hotel/bug houses
Zan Jackson, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Wildlife Gardening Officer
Areas to grow fruit and vegetables
Greenhouse or poly-tunnel
Bird tables, feeders, bird bath
Daffodil paths/flower paths
Flower logo for centre
Shed for tool swap/storage
Families group at Haregate Community Centre
Lots of different shells
Fitted play area for kids
Anything to do with frogs
Barefoot trail/texture tiles
Tyre flowers beds/pots
Aslan – Autism group at Haregate Community Centre
Crystals – to make rainbows
Spinning colourful toys
Youth Group at Haregate Community Centre
Basket swing, swings
Slide with tunnel
Water feature/play area
Bird of paradise
A lot of different roses
Garden with bench and path
Thursday Gardening Group at Haregate Community Centre
Seats and a bench
Solar water feature
Greenhouse for seedlings etc
Picnic bench and table
A place to escape hustle and bustle and create calm