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Six Councils Club Together to Secure the Future of Nature Reserve

Published on: 21 Dec, 2021
Updated on: 23 Dec, 2021

Tice’s Meadow near Badshot Lea. Photo SCC

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

Six councils have clubbed together to protect a nature reserve near Tongham and keep it open to the public. 

Surrey County Council (SCC) and five others bought Tice’s Meadow for around £450,000 from Hanson Quarries Europe Limited.

A private buyer could have reduced public access but last week’s sale opens up 55 hectares (137 acres) of wetland, broadleaved woodland and grasslands near Badshot Lea for recreational and educational use.

SCC’s cabinet member for property Natalie Bramhall said: “An investment in Tice’s Meadow is an investment in Surrey’s biodiversity, natural habitat, climate change objectives, and commitment to creating accessible green spaces for the county’s residents and visitors.”

SCC will lead on maintaining the land and is planning to put in walkways and plant trees to offset carbon.

There are footpath links to Tongham Pool and Blackwater Valley for a circular walk.

Cllr Tim Oliver

Council leader Tim Oliver said: “It’s a great area for families to walk around, it will really enhance that whole stretch of land between Guildford and Waverley and Rushmoor.

“It’s a really good example of local government joined-up thinking.”

The Surrey authority paid just over half, with the rest contributed by Guildford Borough Council, Waverley Borough Council, Farnham Town Council, Hampshire County Council and Rushmoor Borough Council.

Cllr Oliver said the partnership was looking forward to working with volunteers over the years to “enhance Tice’s Meadow as a thriving wildlife habitat”.

The site used to be a quarry but volunteers won a conservation award for their restoration work in 2018.

Guildford Borough Council contributed 10 per cent of the purchase price from its capital budget so day-to-day services would not be affected said leader Joss Bigmore.

Waverley Borough Council leader Paul Follows said: “Tice’s Meadow has been restored to its current award-winning condition thanks to the tireless work of local volunteers and the enthusiastic support of the local community.

“That’s why we were absolutely determined to see it protected and, if at all possible, brought into public ownership.

“We are extremely pleased that by working alongside our partners at other local authorities, we have been able to help safeguard such a special place for future generations.”

And Farnham Town Council leader John Neale said: “The town council will continue to work with the county council on plans for the future site management and the continuation of the impressive volunteer activity in sustaining this important nature reserve.”   

 

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