UNUSED land in Tiddington could become a nature reserve in what appears a tentative win for the community.
Members of Stratford District Council’s Cabinet met on Monday (January 16) to decide what to do with an unused parcel of land in Knights Lane.
And they were presented with two options – to sell the land to a developer for £133,000 or to give it over to the residents of Tiddington for a nature reserve.
And after much discussion, members of the Cabinet decided to allow the specially formed committee of residents six weeks to work on their plans.
Of particular concern for councillors was what financial incentive the nature reserve offered.
The land – a former gravel pit – was gifted to SDC in 1957 and was subject to a restrictive covenant requiring that the land is only used as a play area.
But since the land was acquired an alternative, more suitable play area, has been created and the land does not appear to have ever been used.
The land is enclosed by housing on all sides and is effectively ‘land locked’. Pedestrian access is available but there is not sufficient width to allow vehicle access onto the land without acquiring additional land interests.
SDC has recently been offered £133,000 from a developer keen to build houses on the site.
However, during the process of transferring the site, a counter-offer was received from a group of Tiddington residents, supported by Coun Kate Rolfe. They propose taking over the site and maintaining it as a nature reserve.
This proposal was accompanied by a petition signed by 270 residents and an application for the site to be registered as an Asset of Community Value. The residents did not initially want to pay for the site, but Coun Rolfe said they may now be willing to do so.
She continued that the gravel pit was a pit and any housing developer would find it impossible to build houses on it.
She added that over 30 residents had helped put forward a proposal for the nature reserve including biology teacher Charles Gill, who teaches at Alcester Grammar School.
Mr Gill explained the land was a haven for wildlife and the nature reserve project had already attracted the attention of potential funding offers including from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Environment Bank. In the long term, he said, the nature reserve would have both financial and biodiversity benefits for the district.
The Tiddington residents and the Cabinet will discuss the nature reserve further at a meeting in March.