Save Leyland's Shruggs Wood urge campaigners
Residents are campaigning to save a Leyland beauty spot.
Shruggs Wood is part of South Ribble Borough Council’s Green Links programme consultation.
The authority says it is currently carrying out improvment work at the nature reserve.
Campaigners say many trees have already been cut down before consultation took place. Residents fear rare wildlife which should be protected will be disturbed.
They say they are lucky to have the likes of kingfishers, woodpeckers, owls, herons and much more living there - but that these could disappear if the area is opened up to the public. There are concerns there may be anti-social behaviour and crime.
Resident Emma Ribchester, of Marron Close, has asked a number questions of South Ribble Council regarding the work. She said: “We totally agree to essential maintenance work being carried out. However, there are rare species of birds, insects and bats which are supposed to be protected that were in the trees.
“I would rather see money invested into a biodiversity project to protect wildlife, rather than a path or road.
“We are suspicious that with the plans to build a new leisure centre on West Paddock, another loss of green space, they are removing trees to build a road through to Redwood Avenue as the space they have started to clear is nine metres wide in places. A road through there would kill off so much wildlife, it would be heart breaking.
“If open to the public we fear that our native creatures may move away to somewhere quieter, or worse be harmed. Years ago I remember swans used to live here, but they were moved away for their own protection. Police have attended in the past when geese and ducks have been killed- by both thugs and dogs.
“There is potential for a lot of trouble in the woods if opened up, as residents who have lived there since 1989 have experienced.
“I often pick up litter when out walking my dog and find lots of empty beers, cider cans and weed bags.
“We had benches removed by the council years ago, because of gangs hanging around and vandalising them.”
Councillor Phil Smith, cabinet member for regeneration and leisure said: “We’re looking for residents to have their say on what they would like to see in the future for health and wellbeing in South Ribble by commenting on parks, leisure campuses, green spaces, play areas, cycle paths and walking routes.
“Although a consultation is taking place and while no decisions have been made about the area, I can confirm that there are no plans to construct a road through Shruggs Wood.
“In relation to current works in the area, a recent survey was undertaken in the wood looking at the condition of the woodland and scope for future improvement works. The surveys highlighted some safety critical maintenance which needs carrying out as soon as possible which includes the removal of dead or diseased trees affected by drainage issues.
“We are committed to reducing further tree loss as a result of poor drainage conditions and works to rectify this are on-going.
“It is hoped this work will see improvements for wildlife in the area by providing new habitats for birds and insects.
“This will be done through the creation of deadwood piles and nature stick which provides essential habitat for many rare species in the woodland. Residents can find out more information about the on-going consultation by visiting www.southribble.gov.uk/greenlinks.”