PLANS to create Derbyshire’s largest nature reserve outside of the Peak District have been warmly welcomed by residents.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust revealed its vision for the 182-acre site, once part of the former American Adventure theme park in Shipley, at a public meeting in Ilkeston last week.
Chief executive of the trust Ed Green said after the meeting, which attracted more than 80 residents: “It’s going to be an incredible piece of land – if I was living locally I would think it’s fantastic to have this open space on my doorstep.
“We got far more positive support for the vision than we did concerns – people were very welcoming of our ownership.”
Dog walkers, particularly those living in Shipley Common next to the site, have expressed worries about being forced to keep their pets on leads.
And Mr Green explained that there ‘will be occasions’ when that will be necessary in order to protect wildlife.
But he added: “The council has done very little with the site, which is why there is so much wildlife there.
“We are aiming to preserve that for generations to come.”
Regular visitor to the area and Ilkeston resident Janet McCarney, 59, said: “It will be great, I am sure. It used to be lovely here and I’m sure it will be again.”
And chairman of Shipley Parish Council, Dr Christopher Perko, said that he gave the plan the authority’s full support.
“It is going to be a great asset for Shipley,” he said.
“We are quite pleased with everything we have seen so far.
“It will bring visitors into the area, which is very welcome in the current economic climate.”
Amber Valley borough and Derbyshire county councillor for the area Cllr Kevin Parkinson also said there will be increased numbers of visitors to the site.
He said: “I don’t think the reserve will have any greater impact on the area than American Adventure had, but it will be managed better than the theme park was. It will attract different people at different times.”
The plans will be on public display again on Tuesday March 22 at West Hallam Methodist Church.