The £9 million transformation of a former claypit and brickworks into one of the most attractive business parks in Staffordshire has reached a major milestone with the handover of more than 60 acres of reclaimed green space to the Land Restoration Trust.
The Keys Business Park in Hednesford, near Cannock, has been redeveloped into a successful business park over the last seven years by Advantage West Midlands and English Partnerships as part of the National Coalfields Programme.
Sixty acres of derelict land in and around the new business park has been heavily landscaped, including the planting of a new forest, to provide green open spaces for the local community and a haven for the Greater Crested Newt, a protected wildlife species.
The land, which was owned by AWM, has been handed to the Land Restoration Trust to manage for long-term community benefit.
Steve Holland, head of asset management at Advantage West Midlands, said: "The agency has a key role in acquiring neglected and unsightly brownfield land which can lead to difficulties of attracting inward investment and general wellbeing of the community.
"The combined reclamation expertise of Advantage West Midlands and English Partnerships has established a thriving business parking in an attractive landscaped setting."
The Land Restoration Trust aims to improve the quality of life for communities by providing long-term management and funding for public green spaces - effectively acting as a National Trust type organisation for previously derelict land.
Euan Hall, chief executive of the Land Restoration Trust, said: "The difference between derelict land and well managed green spaces is a difference in people's lives.
"In terms of the site's effect on the business park, research shows that employees are three times more likely to stay with a company if it is in a pleasant environment."