Media release - issued 02 Aug 2019

September opening for Southwood Country Park

The first phase of Southwood Country Park in Farnborough is set to officially open in September.

In preparation for opening up the western side of the former golf course as Suitable Alternative Natural Space (SANG) for residents and dog walkers to enjoy, the council is busy creating a new 31-space car park in Kennels Lane, installing rubbish bins and signage, as well as connecting pathways through the park and putting in dog proof fencing along the boundaries of Ively Road.

Rushmoor Borough Council's Cabinet has also now agreed the contributions that developers of new homes in Aldershot and Farnborough will pay towards the SANG and also an interim management plan setting out how Southwood Country Park will be delivered and managed over the next 12 to 18 months.

For each new home built as part of regeneration plans for Aldershot and Farnborough, the recommended contribution for the Southwood Country Park SANG will be £3,167 per person. This charge has been calculated to include one-off costs that will help establish the country park, phased costs including things such as fencing that will need to be replaced every ten years, site management and staffing.

Councillor Martin Tennant, the council's Cabinet Member for Major Projects and Property, said: "It's fantastic to see this amazing new country park taking shape and we are very excited about its future.  Not only will it enable the regeneration of our town centres, but it will open up this beautiful green space in the heart of Rushmoor."

Once the western side is officially open in early September, the council will be working on opening the eastern side to provide similar facilities.

In the medium term the council has ambitious plans for the second phase of the development, which include:

  • Employing rangers to manage the area
  • Creating a visitor centre, café, public toilets and ranger's office either with the existing buildings or as part of a new building
  • A pedestrian crossing on Ively Road
  • Creating a playground constructed from natural materials
  • A fenced dog exercise area
  • Cycle paths
  • Creation of focal points
  • Educational aids, such as a pond dipping platform and bird hides that schools, clubs and local people can use to study wildlife
  • Naturalising Cove Brook and the Marrow and Ively streams and re-creating floodplain meadow, copses and hedgerows

The public will be invited to have their say on the council's plans for the second phase and to give their own suggestions in the new year.

In readiness for the country park opening, various wildlife surveys have been carried out across the 57-acre site. Large populations of slow worms and common lizards, smooth and palmate newts, use the site. Five species of bats forage along the woodland edge and the waterways and wetland birds have started visiting the site.

The site is providing a very good habitat for invertebrates, with nine nationally-scarce, and two nationally-rare species, and the Small Heath butterfly, which is threatened in Britain.

Councillor Tennant added: "I've spent some time down at the park and it's fantastic to see the natural grassland and wildflower habitats starting to establish themselves and re colonise the site, providing homes for wildlife and natural habitats for visitors to enjoy for many years to come."

 

 
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