Wildlife centre plans shelved

Gouthwaite Reservoir, Nidderdale. Picture Bruce Rollinson
Gouthwaite Reservoir, Nidderdale. Picture Bruce Rollinson

PLANS FOR a wildlife centre at Gouthwaite Reservoir have been shelved after Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty withdrew its support, leaving the scheme “unviable”, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has said.

Gouthwaite Wildlife Centre would have comprised of a small, unmanned structure on the western shore of the reservoir, which is situated between the small villages of Wath and Ramsgill, in the Nidderdale AONB.

It was a joint project between Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Nidderdale AONB, Yorkshire Water and Nidderdale Birdwatchers.

During the planning process, concerns were raised that insufficient consultation had taken place, leading to a series of events in January.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, who led the project team with the Birdwatchers, said the team were “heartened” by the results of an online survey which found 88 per cent of respondents were supportive of the plans.

In a statement yesterday, the Trust said it “came as a surprise” to learn that Nidderdale AONB had decided to withdraw its support for the proposal, following consultation with members of its Joint Advisory Committee’s Executive and others - and that it came as a “bitter disappointment” to those involved.

Bernie Higgins, living landscapes manager at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said: ”What is particularly sad about this outcome is that the opportunity to reconnect people with nature at a nationally important wildlife site, which is so urgently needed, will be missed.”

Sue Harrison, chair of Nidderdale Birdwatchers said the group was “incredibly disappointed” that the project, which was five years in the planning, will no longer be going ahead.

The Yorkshire Post contacted Nidderdale AONB for comment.