Public consultation is held into community fields plans

Members of the Fairfield Association and landscape architect Georgina Peacock with the plans for the initiative for developmemnt of FLORA Nature Reserve at the public consultation, held at the Storey Meeting House.
Members of the Fairfield Association and landscape architect Georgina Peacock with the plans for the initiative for developmemnt of FLORA Nature Reserve at the public consultation, held at the Storey Meeting House.

A public consultation has been held to give people the chance to air their views on plans for some community fields in Lancaster.

In March 2013, the Fairfield Association, a community-based Lancaster environmental charity, announced that it had been awarded a grant of nearly £100,000 from the Heritage LotteryFund which, when added to an even larger amount donated by local people, would enable it to purchase the land (called Flora) that it wanted.

This added nearly 26 acres to its established 16-acre Fauna nature reserve.

The Flora land has now been acquired and the association is currently completing the purchase of further land (nearly six acres) between Fauna and Flora, effectively making the area one big nature reserve of nearly 50 acres.

The project could include:

* Introducing ponds and scrapes for wetland birds and small mammals;

* Changing the layout of the fields to increase the amount of hedgerow available for wildlife;

* Introducing broad wildflower margins at the edges of the fields;

* Making some of the fields available for cattle grazing, as in the established Fauna reserve;

* Using some of the fields for spring-grown cereals, which it is hoped will attract lapwing and other wetland birds to the reserve, provide food for birds and small mammals and also more cover for hares and other mammals;

* Extending and improving the copse of mature trees called Pony Wood.

In addition to conserving the local landscape in wildlife-friendly ways, the association hopes to establish a new footpath giving the public delightful new views over Flora and Fauna to Lancaster Castle, Morecambe Bay and beyond.

Mick Short, one of the people behind the project, said: “The consultation went really well. People were very interested and we have more than 130 questionnaire returns, which we are currently analysing.”

A programme of events giving the opportunity for local people to learn more about the project kicks off on Thursday, September 19 with an introductory talk by Fairfield trustees Mick and Hilary Short from 7.30-8.30pm at The Storey Institute.

For details of further events, go to www.fairfieldassociation.org.