A CONSERVATIONIST has contacted the Guardian in the light of planning approval for houses and a nature park in Leftwich.

The controversial plans for Dane Valley were formally supported by Cheshire Wildlife Trust, which will manage the park, at the planning meeting.

Martin Varley, director of conservation for the trust, has spoken out to reassure residents that the plans, by Ainscough Strategic Land, will not cause harm to the environment or put residents or visitors at risk.

He said the trust was working with Ainscough to design a habitat scheme that would result in a ‘significant gain for nature’ and emphasised that houses would only be built on a quarter of the site with the rest managed as wildlife habitat.

“The developed area sits within Flood Zone 1 – considered the lowest risk by the Environment Agency (the statutory planning agency for flood risk and management in England),” he said.

“The remaining areas within Flood Zones 2 and 3 will not be developed.

“In addition, the new habitats will attenuate floodwaters, by slowing down the flow of water through vegetation.

“Cheshire Wildlife Trust already manages large areas of floodplain grazing marsh across Cheshire.

“This area in the Dane Valley would be restored as an area of floodplain grazing marsh, meadows and amenity areas.

“ Flooding will inevitably occur periodically on floodplains and this site will be no different.

“People do not access the area currently when it floods and any events or activities led by the trust would not be held during times of flood nor access encouraged on these occasions.”