Statement on Portbury Wharf

Monday 20th April 2015

Avon Wildlife TrustAvon Wildlife Trust

Avon Wildlife Trust is aware that a letter has been distributed to residents of the Village Quarter at Portbury Wharf in Portishead.

Avon Wildlife Trust is aware that the below letter has been distributed to residents of the Village Quarter at Portbury Wharf in Portishead.

Avon Wildlife Trust have not been consulted in the discussions between North Somerset Council and Persimmon Homes, and are not party to any alternative agreement to fund the nature reserve.

We are currently considering our position and expect to issue a press statement in the week commencing 27th April.


Dear Resident

In line with my promise at the last AGM, I have been consulting with North Somerset Council and developers, on alternative ways of funding the maintenance of the much valued Portbury Nature Reserve. This follows on-going concerns by local residents about future liabilities and the confusion about the status of Port Marine Management Ltd (PMML).

Avon Wildlife Trust have created an exceptional public amenity and wildlife habitat and delivered benefits for all of us such as increasing populations of water vole (one of Britain’s rarest mammals) and the returning wetland bird populations, and the Council wants to ensure that success is maintained.

North Somerset Council officers have met with Persimmon Homes, the two main parties to the agreement, to review the way in which the Nature Reserve is funded and it has been proposed to simplify the way this is done, along the lines I briefly mentioned at the AGM.

The Council would become the owner of the nature reserve and be responsible for its maintenance following transfer and we are currently busy working with Persimmon to finalise the legal details to achieve this. I trust it will only take a few more weeks.

Let’s be quite clear

This means that there will no longer be an annual charge for residents to pay for the management of the nature reserve from the date of the Council's ownership.

Initially, all maintenance work will be funded from any reserves held by PMML on behalf of the developers for fulfilment of the 106 agreement, and when this money has been spent the cost of maintaining the nature reserve will be funded by the Council, in the same way that all our other parks, such as the Lake Grounds, are maintained.

North Somerset Council already manages Local Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest and so will be able to make sure the site continues to be well managed. I do believe we have an important and valuable asset in our Reserve and we will work with Avon Wildlife Trust to ensure that the site's natural resources are also well cared for.

There will no doubt be a number of questions about covenants and existing amounts outstanding, formal resolution of the Board etc and these will all be addressed. However the main point of no more payments and the fact that the Nature Reserve will be fully maintained, will be welcomed by all and is in line with our undertaking to you.

Yours sincerely

Nigel Ashton