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Grimsargh reservoirs and wetlands could move into public ownership

Posted on - 16th September, 2014 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Grimsargh, News, Wildlife and Conservation
Grimsargh reservoirs are a haven for wildlife

Grimsargh reservoirs are a haven for wildlife Pic: jimmysboy

Three reservoirs near Grimsargh could move into ownership of the local Parish Council.

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What’s become known as the Grimsargh Wetlands was secured as a nature reserve in 2009.

Now parish councillors are unveiling plans for transfer of ownership of the redundant reservoirs and surrounding wetlands to them, from current owners United Utilities.

A statement from the Parish Council said: “The Parish Council and Unitied Utilities have maintained a background dialogue over the past few years regarding the long term future of the Grimsargh Reservoirs site as a nature reserve.

“Outside bodies were approached to see if they might be able to take on the management of the site – but without funding this was not possible.

“There are now proposals, in draft form, which it is believed could provide a way forward, to secure the “Grimsargh Wetlands” as a fantastic ecological heritage asset for our village, in perpetuity.

“In order to secure the necessary funding, the proposals do include a small-scale level of development on the land fronting Preston Road. In return, the area encompassing the Biological Heritage Site (the three redundant reservoirs and embankments) would be handed over to Grimsargh Parish Council, together with a dowry towards the ongoing maintenance and enhancement of the habitat.”

A drop-in consultation event is taking place during Wednesday 17 September from 4pm to 7pm at Grimsargh Village Hall showing the plans for the site and for people to ask questions about what is proposed.

John Martin from United Utilities said: “We have investigated handing over the site to conservation organisations, but the same issue keeps coming up – the ongoing cost of maintaining the site. That is why we propose to share some of the value of the site by selling a portion for high quality homes so that the reserve can be handed over with a ‘dowry’ to fund ongoing management and maintenance. We’re keen to hear the views of the local community at the public exhibition.”

Local residents had feared for the future of the site, but in January 2009 it was formally declared a wildlife haven as United Utilities completed work on the reservoirs.

The reservoirs are popular for fishing and bird watching.

Do you live in the area? What do you think of the news? Let us know in the comments below

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