AN ambitious scheme to transform a reservoir into a nature reserve and public space has taken another step forward after former owner Beck Developments pledged £150,000 and handed over the land.

The £800,000 project would see Primrose Lodge site, which is situated off Woone Lane in Clitheroe turned into a valuable habitat for wildlife with a new, accessible public area.

The European Regional Development Fund has already granted £500,000 towards the cost.

Now landowner for the last decade, Padiham-headquartered Beck Developments, has transferred ownership of the site to the newly-formed Primrose Community Nature Trust along with a £150,000 cash donation.

The first phase of the project to de-silt the site is well underway creating permanent open water whilst new vegetation is also being planted.

The second phase, due to begin next month, will create the longest fish pass in England.

The final phase, due to complete next autumn, will create a new public footpath connecting Whalley Road and Woone Lane.

Ben Wilkinson, managing director of Beck Developments, said: “The regeneration of Primrose Lodge has been 25 years in the making. It’s been fantastic to support everyone involved in realising our united vision of creating a beautiful nature reserve for the town that ultimately safeguards this important green lung.”

Chair of the Primrose Community Nature Trust, Richard Stephenson, said: “Despite a summer of heavy rain, we’re making excellent progress on the de-silting of the lodge. Once complete, the reserve will be enjoyed by so many people, such as children and parents using the public access route to walk to school, and also providing a recreational spot for nature fans."