Calls to protect a city vale

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A DURHAM City nature reserve should have plans drawn up to protect it, said a conservation group.

Durham County Council is being urged to take strategic action to prevent development in the area from affecting Flass Vale nature reserve.

Plans are in the pipeline for Gentoo to build houses in the city’s Waddington Street, and Connislow construction firm to build 220 student flats in Ainsley Street. It is also thought a development could be on the way for the old County Hospital site.

Now, the City of Durham Trust, is calling on council chiefs to draw up a masterplan for the area. Previously the Friends of Flass Vale have called for a public meeting to discuss the future of the area.

A letter to the local authority from the trust, said: “In view of the uncertainty in this area arising from the number of proposals in various stages of progression, trustees would urge the authority to consider preparing a comprehensive guide or masterplan for the area.”

Stuart Timmiss, Durham County Council’s head of planning and assets, said referring the applications to its strategic planning committee would contravene its constitution.

However, he assured residents decision making would not be on an ad hoc basis.

Flass Vale is a beautiful and historic area of woodland that starts almost at the edge of Durham City and extends out to Durham Johnston School and the A167.

It is an area of wilderness with a large variety of wildlife including, foxes, many species of birds and a wide variety of flora.