Mid Suffolk District Council confirms purchase of 'green oasis' in Great Finborough, near Stowmarket
In a week which has seen a damning IPCC report on the state of global warming, Mid Suffolk District Council has confirmed the purchase of almost three acres of land near Stowmarket to provide a 'green oasis' for the town.
As part of the council's plans, £65,000 from a climate change and biodiversity reserve will be invested in the space at Wash Lane, in Great Finborough.
There are currently no plans to make the site publicly accessible, but instead allow it to be a haven for local flora and fauna.
The space is also already home to several wildlife species, including deer, willow warbler and siskin birds, the common toad and a variety of insects.
The River Rat also passes through the area, which features extensive tree cover including several with Tree Preservation Orders.
The investment is the next step in the authority's joint Biodiversity Action Plan, which looks to protect and strengthen the district's wildlife and plant life populations.
Cllr Jessica Fleming, cabinet member for environment at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “I am simply delighted that we have been able to acquire this piece of wild, wet, overgrown land alongside the River Rat – helping to safeguard an important wildlife corridor, which is home to a wide variety of species.
“This acquisition fits well with our ambitions for countering biodiversity loss and improving the environment for both people and nature. Our vision for Stowmarket is to create a thriving town that people are proud to call home, and where economic growth and regeneration are balanced by quality of life and open space.
“The purchase of this land means it will remain a welcome home for wildlife in the town for generations to come.”
Significant work now needs to be undertaken to complete what is expected to be a five year project.
The council’s public realm team will be engaging with the Stowmarket Eco Future group, nearby residents and the two parish councils over coming months, to look in further detail at how they may be able to best work together on the project.
Cllr John Matthissen, member of the Stowmarket Eco Future group, who is also ward member for Onehouse, said: "I very much welcome this move to secure an important link in the chain of biodiversity from the source of the River Rattlesden to where it meets the River Gipping.
"I would particularly like to thank local constituents who have highlighted this opportunity and also councillor Jessica Fleming who has been supportive of the project from its inception.
"In addition I am grateful to the officers who have worked to obtain a Tree Preservation Order and ultimately complete purchase of the land.
“An example of the opportunities ownership will provide is an extension of the clearance of invasive Himalayan Balsam. This has begun at the Museum of East Anglian Life and the adjacent Danecroft land, much of it carried out by volunteers, including the Stowmarket Eco Future group.”
The purchase of the Wash Lane site comes as part of a number of other projects being carried out by Mid Suffolk District Council, including biodiversity mapping, a tree canopy survey, and ongoing consultation with town and parish councils to establish suitable new wildflower areas across the district.