“FOR NATURE AND FOR PEOPLE” - MASTERPLAN PROPOSES A NEW FUTURE FOR RADLEY LAKES
A masterplan launched on 10 May proposes a new future for Radley Lakes, a 326-acre area of former gravel quarries close to the Thames between Radley and Abingdon. The plan sets out a vision for the Lakes, focussed on protecting wildlife and providing valuable green space for local people. Major funding for implementing the plan will come from the ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’ receipts held by Radley Parish Council. The plan is being launched by the newly-formed Radley Lakes Trust.
The masterplan proposes:
- Safeguards and enhancements for the diverse and rich natural habitats of Radley Lakes.
- New pedestrian and cycling routes from the nearby residential areas and safer parking for cars and bikes.
- New and more varied walking trails within the area, with a variety of lengths and vistas, links with the Thames Path and places to sit and relax.
- Information displays and signage so visitors can understand where they are, where they can walk and what they can see. These will be at two entry hubs (at Thrupp Lake and Barton Fields) and also along the walking trails.
Part of the area, Thrupp Lake, is already open to the public. The area has become increasingly popular with visitors in recent years, especially during lockdown. The Radley Lakes Trust is now having discussions with landowners about permissive paths and controlled access to other parts of the wider Radley Lakes area.
To prevent visitors from disturbing important wildlife habitats, the masterplan divides the area into different zones, with no public access to sensitive areas.
The plan was commissioned in 2019 from Cranley Environmental Limited. A consultation exercise in September 2020 showed very strong public support for the proposals, and the plan has now been endorsed by Radley Parish Council, Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council and the Radley Lakes Trust.
Welcoming the masterplan, Lynda Crowley, Chair of Radley Parish Council said: “As a former campaigner of Save Radley Lakes, I am delighted that a charitable trust has been formed to take on the delivery of the Radley Lakes Masterplan. The Parish Council has endeavoured to bring about a solution to this area for many years. The Council appreciates the hard work of those involved and looks forward to the successful implementation of the plan.”
Councillor Cheryl Briggs, Mayor-elect, Abingdon-on-Thames said: “Time spent in the natural environment is increasingly being recognised as essential for physical and mental wellbeing. The Radley Lakes area meets this important need for the people of Radley, Abingdon and beyond. Lockdown has highlighted this, with many more people discovering and enjoying the area. We believe the masterplan will ensure that these invaluable benefits are sustained for our local communities for generations to come.”
Andrew Ashton, Chairman of the Radley Lakes Trust, said: "Radley Lakes is such a special area and a valued oasis for visitors. It has complexities through multiple land ownership and offers a rich and varied ecological diversity. We must treasure and protect this unique environment. The Masterplan is the culmination of considerable work by many who are expert and passionate about this area and paints a bold but realistic vision as a reference against which to plan ahead, to inform how change happens, and to safeguard and deliver an outstanding environment for many decades to come".
Sunday 2 February 2020 -