A NEGLECTED reservoir in Clitheroe is set to be transformed into a nature reserve after a cash injection kick-started the first such project in the North West.

The town's man-made reservoir, Primrose Lodge, has become overgrown and ignored after becoming redundant when the factories at Clitheroe's Primrose Works closed down.

The lodge was originally created for manufacturing processing and for generating power for the factories.

A project to restore Primrose Lodge to its former glory has now been started after a £11,500 contribution from Rawdon Investments Ltd which is constructing an Aldi superstore in the town.

Clitheroe Town Mayor, Cllr Val Cooper, said: "Anything that is going to turn something unused and has become an eyesore into something useful is a good thing.

"With all of the housing developments that the town is getting, whether we like it or not, we are going to get more people coming to the town.

"Having another nature reserve will be something extra for people to use and go to which will be great."

Ribble Valley Council is consulting with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust on how to transform the lodge which is a Lancashire biological heritage site.

It was registered with The Environment Bank, a company working to broker biodiversity offsetting agreements, in the North West’s first such scheme two years ago.

Biodiversity offsetting allows developers to purchase conservation credits from The Environment Bank, which are used to fund the creation and management of conservation sites.

Conservation credits measure a site’s biodiversity value based on factors such as the presence of habitats for flora and fauna.

Each credit is awarded a monetary value, which can be purchased by developers to pay for the creation and enhancement of ‘receptor sites,’ including Primrose Lodge.

The council's countryside officer, David Hewitt, said: “Biodiversity offsetting is a dynamic initiative allowing the pooling of credits for the renovation of bigger and more strategically placed sites, such as Primrose Lodge.

“Registering Primrose Lodge as a receptor site has raised funds to help create a local nature reserve that will be an important resource for local people.

“We are delighted to have taken part in this Environment Bank pilot scheme, which is the first in the North West.”

If the project is completed it would become Clitheroe’s third local nature reserve, the other two being at Salthill and Cross Hill.