Housing plans allay fears for wetland future in rural Preston

Eileen Murray

Eileen Murray

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The future of a wetland nature area in rural Preston could be secured if a development of 12 homes is given the go-ahead.

United Utilities has applied to Preston Council for permission for the four and five-bedroom “high quality” homes, on land off Preston Road in Grimsargh.

Community leaders have praised the plans, which would see the site of three former reservoirs, known as Grimsargh Wetlands, being handed over to the parish council.

A statement to Preston Council said the application was for 12 homes, as “enabling development” to support wider plans to create a wildlife nature reserve, “specifically for the enjoyment of the Grimsargh community”.

It said the site was currently owned by United Utilities, with most of the wider site occupied by three decommissioned former reservoirs which provide habitats for wildlife.

The statement said: “The long term strategy for the site is to secure the future of these habitats, by virtue of turning the site into a protected nature reserve, and the intention is to ultimately hand over responsibility for this to the parish council.”

Eileen Murray, of Grimsargh Parish Council, said many villagers had been concerned about the potential for a “massive” housing development covering the whole site.

She said the former reservoirs had also become an “amazing asset” for wildlife.

She said: “Although there are a few people upset, the balance of the view is that this is a positive step.”

Mrs Murray said the site would initially be transferred into the control of the parish council, who eventually plan to set up a charitable trust.