Fury as Labour council want to turn nature reserve into sports centre

Residents have called on a council to halt plans for a sports centre at a wildlife haven home to endangered species. Locals in Ealing protested this week in a bid to ensure Warren Farm, which has been untouched for over a decade, remains a green space.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Malcolm, challenged the Labour administration’s decision for a sports ground at a meeting attended by dozens of locals.

Mr Malcolm said: “Liberal Democrats have repeatedly called for the whole of Warren Farm to be designated as a local Nature Reserve. 

“The council approach means a significant loss of biodiversity and publicly accessible open space.

“Green space has been shown to be essential to ensuring improved mental health, especially in urban areas.”

The Daily Express Green Britain Needs You campaign has called for people to make space for nature.

Residents said the rarely heard trill of skylarks can be heard among Warren Farm’s 61 acre green space.

Lydia Martin said Ealing Council has allowed Gurnell leisure centre to sit empty since 2020, having shelved earlier plans to build new sports facilities on this brownfield site just three miles away.

She said: “I was really drawn to the fact that actually there are animals on this site which are red-listed. So that means they’re of the highest conservation concern

“The ground-nesting skylarks, for example, are red-listed.

“This is a habitat, which is very, very valuable, you know, even to rare and threatened animals. 

“I think it’s something that we shouldn’t just be so keen to build on, and to lose that biodiversity and to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to support animals that we know are diminishing in numbers, and that their habitats are continued to be protected, and not destroyed.”

More than 19,000 people have signed a petition calling for Warren Farm Nature Reserve and surrounding Brent River Park Meadows to obtain statutory Local Nature Reserve (LNR) designation. 

Ealing Council has been contacted for a comment

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