Ambitious plans to transform a neglected reservoir into a nature reserve and public space in Clitheroe are one step closer to reality.
The Ribble Rivers Trust has been granted up to £500,768 of funding from the European Regional Development Fund to spend on the Primrose Lodge Blue and Greenway Project, which will see the site improved and restored to provide a valuable habitat and accessible public area.
The project, which could see the creation of England’s longest fish pass, was initially scheduled to get under way this month, however, due to the size of the scheme, it has now been revealed work will begin in late spring/early summer.
Ribble Valley Borough Council and the site owners, Beck Developments Limited, the RRT has developed a scheme to support the application for funding to improve the lodge.
Jack Spees CEO of RRT, said: “It has taken nearly 30 years and huge amounts of work by many people and organisations to get to this point. We are really excited we get closer and closer to starting this project – which, when completed, will be a huge asset for Clitheroe and improve Mearley Brook significantly.”
The proposed works will be split into three phases. The first phase is de-silting, which involves digging out 4,000 cubic metres of silt in key areas to create permanent open water, and re-landscaping within the existing site. This will be complemented with the planting of emergent and marginal vegetation, which will provide habitat for insect, birds, amphibians and fish.
The second phase proposes to create a network of public access within the site. A footpath is planned between Whalley Road and Woone Lane, with a new bridge over the brook, plus a board walk and a viewing platform over the newly-restored open water area. The stone wall between Woone Lane and the lodge will also be removed and the overgrown woodland areas will be thinned out. The final phase of the project is the construction of what is expected to be the longest fish pass in England, which will allow salmon, trout, eels and other fish species to migrate further along Mearley Brook through the town and beyond to the village of Worston.
This will help to boost fish populations, which in turn will encourage otters, kingfishers and other river species.