The city council has recently declared a new Local Nature Reserve (LNR) at Miller's Pond in the Shoreburs Greenway. The project to achieve this status has been a joint endeavour between the council and the Sholing Valleys Study Centre Association (SVSCA).
SVSCA is one of the most active of the many open space volunteer groups in Southampton. As volunteer input is a requirement of LNR declaration (a council function) this made Miller's Pond an ideal site to gain this status.
Work has included two rounds of public consultation and the production of a management plan funded by a grant, obtained by the SVSCA, from LUSH Retail Limited. The LNR was formally launched at the SVSCA’s spring fair on 19 May 2012.
The LNR designation, only the second in the city, recognises the wildlife value of the site and its importance to the local community. A work programme, run by the SVSCA, aims to involve local people in habitat management and interpretation work. This will improve the biodiversity value and make the site more interesting and accessible.
The strong working relationship between the SVSCA and the council has been key to the achievement of LNR status and a formal relationship has been built into the plan. The technical expertise available within the council complements the local knowledge and enthusiasm of the SVSCA resulting in a very effective partnership.
LNR status provides the site, which is already very important to the local community, with additional recognition. Whilst it is termed a nature reserve this will not change the way that people are able to use the site.
The focus of LNR's is education and is designed to enable people to encounter and enjoy wildlife a stone’s throw from their doorsteps. It is hoped that the enhanced status will assist in attracting additional resources to help deliver the management plan.