I’ve blogged on this old sawmill site before, but just imagine – for a moment – what a group of committed volunteers with a little bit of funding could do.
The Carnegie Trust are offering £2500 to project designed to improve public spaces. This sad eyesore could become a place that everyone can enjoy and appreciate. Here’s what I’d do, if I won the award (look out for the photos at the bottom of this page which will help give a clearer idea of the plan).
1) Contact the landowners (Robertsons), offering the £2500 if they will agree to demolish the remnants of that old saw mill and remove the metal mesh barricade temporary fence which currently surrounds the site and is rather ugly. This alone would immediately improve the aesthetic appearance, brightening-up the four homes who live directly in the shadow of this huge wall and opening-up the whole area.
2) Advertise for and lead litter picks onto the site to pick-up all the detritus that no-one has been able to sort out in over three years. This would take a while, but again would help to make the whole area look more natural and appealing.
3) As part of a group, create a path that runs right through the area and allows people to explore this natural, ‘wildneress’ habitat.
4) Harvest the numerous bramble bushes in early autumn. If Asda can sell punnets of blackberries for about £2, then there’s a real potential to make money that could be funneled into improving the site.
5) Gathering volunteers to construct a proper fence, but note that the foliage already in existence creates a reasonable natural barrier.
6) Longer-term, parts of this area could be turned into allotment gardens.
7) Of course, anyone could buy and develop the site at any point, but no money would be wasted. Moreover, it’s unlikely that the site would be touched anytime soon as there are plenty of areas to build in Elgin and other parts desperately in need of regeneration.
The fact is I pass this derelict eyesore everyday and would jump at the chance to make a difference. So many people feel ‘down’ about their neighbourhood because the ruined relics of our more industrialized past still haunt us today. If we prioritize the redevelopment of these sites, I believe that we would majorly improve people’s mental (and physical) health. They would be more interested in going for walks and uplifted by the wonderful examples of natural life all around us. Councils are strapped for cash, but I hope that individuals, voluntary organisations and the likes of the Carnegie Trust can make miracles happen in the most run-down areas.