Councillors to consider creating new nature reserve
Shropshire Council’s Cabinet is being asked to support a plan to make Much Wenlock’s Windmill Hill a Local Nature Reserve (LNR).
Much Wenlock Town Council has asked for the land to be designated a LNR so that it can attract funds and open up the countryside even more to the public.
Rob Gittins, Shropshire Council cabinet member for culture and digital, said:-
“Windmill Hill is a superb and much-loved natural area that is well-used by people in Much Wenlock and further afield.
“By designating Windmill Hill an LNR we are protecting the nature conservation and recreation interest of Windmill Hill. There is no cost to Shropshire Council and by designating the area as requested it will open up more opportunities for the site to be protected and maintained as a recreational asset for the county.
“Much Wenlock Town Council is also in the process of agreeing a nature reserve agreement with the owner and the tenant (Much Wenlock Windmill Trust) of Windmill Hill in order to give it the necessary legal interest in Windmill Hill for the purpose of declaring an LNR.”
A report to the Cabinet says declaring Windmill Hill as an LNR will offer the following benefits:
- Improve local quality of life, health and wellbeing.
- Create opportunities for education, enjoyment and recreation, helping attract visitors and preserves links with the local community’s past.
- Safeguard local ecosystem services – the benefits nature provides for people, such as reducing carbon in the atmosphere or absorbing surface water.
- Protect and enhance the natural heritage as a key part of building sustainable communities.
- Raise the nature conservation and recreation interest.
- Recognise the site’s wildlife value.
- Recognise local community involvement.
- Protect within the planning system from future development.
It adds, in terms of the management of Windmill Hill there will be no change following the designation. The site will continue to be managed by the Much Wenlock Windmill Trust who have a lease on Windmill Hill until 2100. Windmill Hill will be managed as an area of public open space for quiet recreation and for the enhancement and protection of flora and fauna together with cultural and historic access. Management of Windmill Hill will follow the management plan which will be reviewed on a 10-year basis.
Local councillor Dan Thomas added:-
“As a born and bred Much Wenlock man, I’ve grown up playing on the Gaskell Ground, including the Windmill Hill which is a key part of Much Wenlock’s history and landscape. It’s my pleasure to ask cabinet to support this as the local member, to guarantee the windmill hill’s long-term future.”