Green light for £700k bid to improve reserve

Marton Mere
Marton Mere
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Work to preserve a Blackpool beauty spot and prevent flooding is set to start after town hall chiefs gave the scheme final approval.

The project will see £739,000 invested into protecting the Marton Mere Nature Reserve for the future.

The cash, which was first announced in December 2013, includes Heritage Lottery funding of £366,000 which will pay for improvements to the visitor centre and bird hides in a bid to involve more residents, including children, in the site.

Meanwhile, a grant of £373,000 from the Environment Agency will be invested in upgrading the pumping station.

It is hoped this will solve drainage problems, particularly for people living in the Morris Homes development on Rosefinch Way and Lark Close in Marton, where driveways and pavements have been flooded during heavy rainfall in the past.

A report to Blackpool Council’s executive committee says: “During heavy rainfall the pumping station is unable to cope with the volume of water and the surface water back up into the residential area.

“The most recent significant event occurred in 2012, which led to residents being isolated due to significant highway flooding.

“An upgrade to the pumping station will increase the capacity of the pumping station and reduce the risk of flooding in the future.”

Blackpool Council’s executive agreed the commencement of the works.

The report also adds the scheme will aim to “increase the use of Marton Mere and involve more local people, particularly children and young people, in accessing it for pleasure and educational purposes.”

Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said: “This project is incredibly important as it will not only help boost the area’s biodiversity but it will also provide local people and visitors alike with a fantastic range of opportunities to get involved and enjoy the area for many years to come.

“We’re delighted to finally be getting started and be working with so many people and organisations in the community including Veolia and Bourne Leisure to make this happen.”

The upgrade of the pumping station is due to be completed by March 2016.

The reserve, Blackpool’s only Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), is nationally recognised for its bird population –playing host to the likes of water rails, whimbrels and even visiting ospreys.