Council signs over ‘green haven’

HOUGH: Craig and Martin Blakey with executive lead of Selby District Council as they take over the 100 year lease on Hambleton Hough. (BUY THIS PHOTO L7117TS) Picture: Tony Saxton
HOUGH: Craig and Martin Blakey with executive lead of Selby District Council as they take over the 100 year lease on Hambleton Hough. (BUY THIS PHOTO L7117TS) Picture: Tony Saxton
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THE future of one of Selby’s green areas is now secured, under a unique new management agreement.

As swathes of green belt across the country lose their protection to be swallowed up by housing, the picturesque Hambleton Hough will remain for community use for the next 99 years at least.

Management of the popular green area has been taken over by a local charity, the Church Fenton-based Wildlife Habitat Protection Trust.

The charity is dedicated to wildlife conservation, and to increasing people’s involvement and understanding of the countryside and the skills needed to maintain it.

An official handover of the site took place last week, and the lease signed for the innovative arrangement between the wildlife charity and Selby District Council.

It is hoped that the community will now become even more involved with the site that is a popular birdwatching spot known for Siskins in the winter. It also boasts picnic facilities and a ‘trim trail’ for people to enjoy. The contract aims to maximise its benefits for the community in the most cost-effective way.

SDC Executive Member Coun Chris Metcalfe said: “This innovative approach enables the Wildlife Habitat Protection Trust to work with the council, other experienced partners and community groups to widen access and interest in Hambleton Hough. These new long-term arrangements will have wide reaching benefits for everyone.”

Martin Blakey from the Wildlife Habitat Protection Trust added: “We look after a number of woodlands and areas of countryside in the district and work closely with local communities, businesses and other charities to establish, develop and maintain natural conservation areas. Alongside our conservation work we also develop people’s skills to help protect traditional countryside crafts.

“We’re excited about the opportunity this new arrangement provides to work with the council, along with community groups and individuals, to conserve and enhance our natural environment.”