TV wildlife champion urged to talk to Nene Park bosses as he backs fight to keep giant Climbing Wall out of Peterborough parkland

TV naturalist Chris Packham has backed the fight to stop a 34.25 metres high climbing centre being built on parkland in Peterborough.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 12:11 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 5:48 pm
Naturalist Chris Packham.

The prominent wildlife presenter is urging people to sign a petition calling on Peterborough City Council to reject the plans for the towering centre near Gunwade Lake at Ferry Meadows.

But bosses at Nene Park say the presenter may not be aware of the details and significance of their proposals and have urged the TV presenter to talk to them and visit the site.

Mr Packham fears wildlife will be harmed if the go-ahead is given for construction of the Olympic-grade climbing wall, which would be one of the tallest buildings in Peterborough.

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Taking to Twitter, Mr Packham has Tweeted: "Would you please sign this petition to @PeterboroughCC to help prevent more destruction of our wildlife.

"Tell them to reject plans to build a climbing wall at Ferry Meadows Country Park . Please RT."

But Nene Park chief executive Matthew Bradbury said: "The Trust was aware that the popular broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham had been asked to promote opposition to the project over social media.

"We are also aware that the detail of projects can often be lost in such circumstances.

How the 34.25 metres tall Climbing Wall could appear from Gunwade Lake.

"We would love the opportunity to have Chris come and see what we’re doing and to see how this fits into the wider work of Nene Park Trust."

The Climbing Wall would be part of a new Lakeside Activity Centre that would provide facilities for community use as well as elite climbers.

It is estimated it would generate £2million a year for the city economy and create about 31 jobs.

In his statement, Mr Bradbury adds: "The feedback from the statutory biodiversity consultee positively highlighted the ecology reports provided as part of the application and indicated the scheme would result in a net gain of biodiversity.

"The project is led by Nene Park not a third party “developer” and as such we retain control to ensure the development meets our charitable objects and is accessible to all.

He added: "The Trust has conservation at its heart and works hard to deliver a whole range of nature based projects including the recent and very successful Bringing Nature Closer project restoring over 28 hectares of flood meadow habitat and continues to fund raise and invest heavily in environmental projects."

About 1,112 people have signed the petition opposing the £8 million plans, which are expected to be considered by the council's planning committee on June 11. The council says gthe deadline for objections has already passed.

A spokeswoman for the protesters said: "We value Chris Packham's support as he sees the bigger picture and works tirelessly to protect wildlife and get the message across to try to halt destruction of our world alongside champions like Sir David Attenborough.

"We need these people to make our voice louder and get people to unite and stand up for Nature and we have incredible respect for them.

She added: "Nene Park Trust has done fantastic work in keeping with the original ethos of a Country Park buty many people are now questioning and challenging the direction the trustees and Mr Bradbury are taking Ferry Meadows which is contrary to the Peterborough Development Corporation's legacy and amazing vision."