The Corporate Director – Communities presented a report, the purpose of which, was to seek approval to declare Bedford Park as a Local Nature Reserve and to extend the boundary of the existing Frog Pond Local Nature Reserve to include the area known as Village Farm Meadow. The report also sought approval for future management approaches and resources for both sites.
By way of background information, she advised that Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) exist to protect habitats and species and provide opportunities to increase awareness about the natural environment within communities. LNRs are established and managed by local authorities, following consultation with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. For a site to become an LNR it must have natural features of special interest to the local area, and the authority must either have a legal interest in the land or have an agreement with the owner to manage the land as a reserve. In Wales LNRs have been designated over a number of years, from 1970 to the present day, and are on-going.
There were currently 5 LNRs in Bridgend County Borough. Kenfig LNR is also a National Nature Reserve which is no longer managed by BCBC. These areas are classed as LNRs due to the specific species and habitats that exist within them and they are:
• Locks Common, Porthcawl
• Craig Y Parcau, Bridgend
• Frog Pond Wood, Pyle
• Tremains Wood, Brackla
• Kenfig Nature Reserve, Kenfig
The Corporate Director – Communities confirmed, that designating Bedford Park as an LNR and extending Frog Pond Wood LNR to include Village Farm Meadow, was something that BCBC had the power to do and aligned with national and local policies.
She explained that, Bedford Park and Village Farm Meadow are designated Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) under the provisions of Policy ENV4 of the adopted Bridgend Local Development Plan (LDP) 2013-2022. The basis for these designations is that both sites have habitats and species of local, regional and national significance that require protection under the Town and Country Planning System.
Furthermore, the LDP included Policy ENV5, which promotes the concept of Green Infrastructure approach. Green Infrastructure was considered as a strategically planned and delivered network of natural and man-made green (land) and blue (water) spaces that sustain natural processes. It is designed and managed as a multifunctional resource capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for society. BCBC was the first council in Wales to incorporate such a policy in its LDP, she added.
The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration confirmed that he was happy to support the report’s recommendations and felt that this was an excellent initiative and that the cost of the proposals would in fact end up being an investment that the public could enjoy in perpetuity.
The Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations felt that protecting these areas complied with the Well-being and Future Generations Act, and as a result of this, the intentions of the report would serve the public well in terms of them visiting these areas for their future enjoyment purposes. She asked if further clarification could be given, in terms of the management of the areas, ie what would this entail.
The Corporate Director – Communities advised, that this meant staff looking after and maintaining the areas and to look after the ecology elements of the wildlife that would find their habitat there. These included maintaining an area for bats, with the provision of bat boxes and ensuring conditions are in place for door mice to thrive there also. Information boards would also be place at the location, in order to advise the public of the wildlife that will make these areas their home.
The Leader added that the above proposals would ensure that the areas in question would become key biodiversity locations, that nearby residents could enjoy, as these were also close to the Cefn Cribwr grasslands, the Parc Slip Nature Reserve and the former Opencast site, which were other areas of interest and/or protected sites.
The Leader asked that Bedford Park Local Nature Reserve be named to reflect the identity and history of the area and the use of the Welsh language by incorporating Waun Cimla into the name of the new local nature reserve. The area was identified as Waun Cimla and used in maps and other documents.
The Cabinet Member – Communities concluded debate on this item, by stating that he was encouraged to see the local authority preserving the ecology in areas of the Count
y Borough, such as these exampled in the report and the likes of Bedford Park and its Iron Works.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:-