Risley Moss ‘shed on stilts’ set for green light

Natural England is set to secure approval to build a Corten-clad observation tower at the 220-acre nature reserve in Warrington after a previous look-out point was destroyed by a fire.

The original tower had been a prominent structure in the nature reserve for more than 30 years but was destroyed by an arson attack in July 2017.

Natural England is proposing a replacement to the south west of the site, not in the same location as the former tower, which the group said would encourage members of the public to visit different areas of the 220-acre reserve. This tower will replace an existing bird hide on the site.

Conceived as a “shed on stilts”, the tower will feature an enclosed hide and viewing platform, all to be clad in Corten steel; Natural England said the appearance of the hide would “evolve over time changing its patina and helping the new tower blend in with the surrounding environment”.

Risley Moss primarily consists of peat bog and moss land, and is one of the last remaining fragments of raised bog land that once covered large areas of North Cheshire and South Lancashire. It is owned and managed by Warrington Council under the guidance of Natural England.

Endorsing the proposals ahead of a planning committee next week, Warrington Council planning officers said: “The proposal would allow enjoyment of exceptional views that would add to the visitor experience and enhance the current facilities available at Risley Moss.

“It is recognised some disabled persons will be unable to access the viewing platform, nevertheless, some mitigation is to be provided. It is considered that overall the benefits of re-providing a viewing platform allow for the development to be acceptable.”

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