A WILDLIFE protection ‘masterplan’ whilst balancing more public access to a piece of land has been updated.

The updated scheme – called the ecological management plan – includes new measures to be implemented at the 110-acre piece of land at Battlemead Common located between Maidenhead and Cookham.

An original plan for the land off Lower Cookham Road was created after a consultation was conducted this year.

The plan – which will be in place throughout the year starting from this month – sets out a balance to protect and enhance wildlife and biodiversity on the site but also giving ‘greater’ public access to the area.

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The new measures and changes include:

  • A new footpath will be open to the public in the East Field, running parallel to the River Thames with a new dog-proof fence and hedgerow separating from the rest of the field.
  • The causeway which runs through the East Field will be open from March to October as a permitted footpath with a dog-proof fence running along both sides to prevent access to the wetland areas.
  • Dogs will be allowed off the lead year-round in the West Field only.
  • The Willow Woodland area in the southern part of the common will remain closed to the public – where opening it would require a new footpath and tree clearance resulting in a loss of wildlife and reducing biodiversity.

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Councillor Donna Stimson (Conservative: St Mary’s), lead member for environmental services and climate change, said: “We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful habitat like this on our doorstep. We must do all we can to preserve and enhance the wildlife that currently occupy it, while also allowing residents to enjoy the area.

“I anticipate that walkers and those with dogs will respect the separate wildlife spaces, now that they have increased access. It is critical that dogs are not allowed to negatively impact on wildlife.

“I believe this fairer approach will encourage compliance, and all groups will be able to work together to protect the area.”

The report – which was commissioned by the Royal Borough Council – was prepared by Austin Foot Ecology where the new plan will be monitored and reviewed after one year.