Each year £1 million is spent on Chrysalis projects across the borough providing one-off capital funding for the improvement of council-owned assets. The funding ceiling has now been lifted up to £100,000 or more for exceptional proposals.
Following the flooding in the autumn and repeated inundations early this year, a Chrysalis-funded project originated with the support of Friends of Pinn Meadows has been developed into a comprehensive landscaping programme for the most seriously affected areas.
The reluctance of flood water to drain away from footpath and low-lying parts, particularly where standing water has remained adjacent to resident gardens, is to be addressed by creating a mosaic of ponds and scrapes with different levels of water.
Even though the existing puddles create a good condition for a frog spawning, the water generally evaporates before tadpoles have time to transform to adult frogs.
The new landscaping, to be funded to the tune of £66,000, is designed to provide not only a water reservoir and alleviate flood problems but to provide perfect conditions for invertebrates, amphibians and wildfowl all year round.
Additional planting of wetland species such as marsh marigold, ragged robin, meadowsweet and yellow flag – species that can already be found in other sites downstream from Pinn Meadows – will increase biodiversity to the meadow.
The Friends of Pinn Meadows have become increasingly involved in environmental and ecological activities in the area and there is an ongoing commitment to participate in maintenance work along the banks of the Pinn.
In the group’s first move to initiate practical improvements to the area, FOPM successfully bid for Chrysalis funding from Hillingdon Council to improve public area access, including stretches of the Celadine Route so that it can be enjoyed year-round. The new footpath along the Celadine Route was upgraded to avoid them becoming muddy during spells of wet weather. Two new benches and two litter bins have been provided. Bat boxes and bird boxes were installed around Pinn Meadows and there is now an Interpretation Board describing the wildlife and natural habitat of the area.
New bylaws facilitate permanent access to the public car park in King’s College Road adjacent to the existing all-weather hockey pitch and protect the grass around it. Trees have been planted along the street line to provide screening of the existing all-weather pitch and the gate has been installed to provide safe access to Park Avenue.
The project was developed in consultation with Hillingdon Countryside and Conservation Officer Dragana Knezevic Joe Garner connects it to Rich. The funding application was supported by Wars Councillors Bruce Baker and Catherine Dann, Ruislip Residents Association and by Eastcote Village Conservation Panel.