The Ribble Rivers Trust (RRT) has just had funding confirmed from the European Regional Development Fund for the ‘Primrose Lodge Blue and Greenway Project’. Primrose Lodge, located in the centre of Clitheroe, was historically constructed to power Primrose Works. The site has long been identified as requiring improvement, both environmentally and for public access.
Working with Ribble Valley Borough Council and the site owners, Beck Developments Limited, the Ribble Trust has developed a project plan to support the application for funding to improve the lodge. Beginning in 2019 with a planned finish date in autumn 2020, the proposed works will be split into three phases.
The first phase is de-silting, which involves digging out 4,000 cubic metres of silt in key areas to create permanent open water, and re-landscaping within the existing site. This will be complemented with the planting of emergent and marginal vegetation, which will provide habitat for insect, birds, amphibians and fish.
The second phase proposes the creation of public access within the site. A footpath is planned between Whalley Road and Woone Lane, with a new bridge over the brook, a board walk and a viewing platform over the newly restored open water area. The stone wall between Woone Lane and the lodge will also be removed and the overgrown woodland areas will be thinned out, providing improved views into the site.
The final phase of the project is the construction of what is expected to be the longest fish pass in England, which will allow salmon, trout, eels and other fish species to migrate further along Mearley Brook through the town and beyond to the village of Worston. This will help to boost fish populations, which in turn will encourage otters, kingfishers and other river species, which are commonly found below the lodge, yet absent or in very low numbers upstream.
The proposed creation of public access to blue and green space is seen to be particularly beneficial to local communities and it is hoped this will attract further visitors to Clitheroe. As well as benefiting the town, the works will help to improve water quality and contribute to reducing downstream flood risk.
Once the final stages of the planning and development processes are completed we’ll be able to share the details of this exciting new project- so keep checking out website and the local press for updates!