Three Sisters nature reserve in Eccles has been temporarily saved after locals objected to the plans by United Utilities to remove 17 trees to install a water tank to help prevent flooding.

United Utilities wanted to insert a huge water tank into the ground at Three Sisters in Ellesmere Park but their plans would have meant cutting down several trees received hundred of objections and has now been refused by Salford’s planning panel.

Eccles councillor Mike McCusker, who is a member of the planning panel put forward a rejection to the proposal said: “The three sisters is important for people, we are one of the wards with the lowest amount of green space.

“Salford itself is a very green city, it’s got 60% of its area is green but unfortunately we only have less than half a percent of that 60% therefore any green space is important to us.”

The Three Sisters nature reserve off Rutland Road, Ellesmere Park. © Keith Williamson under CC BY-SA 2.0

The scheme to prevent flooding put forward by the water company was to give a biodiversity increase of 13% but as councillor McClusker said:

“It would have meant felling a large number of trees some of them 20 to 40 years old and replacing them with saplings.”

The planning application received hundreds of objections.

“We think it’s the largest number of objectors we ever had for an planning application in Salford, there was about 500 people came forward.

“Rebecca Long-bailey the local Mp spoke against it, councillors have been working with local residents to get their feeling across.”

Currently, a temporary tree preservation order has been granted and there are ongoing talks to see whether to make the order permeant.

“What local residents and councillors and the MP recognise is that something needs to be done to support those houses experiencing flooding at these dramatic weather events, everyone wants that to happen. But we felt that this site was inappropriate.”

Residents have come forward with a number of different suggestions and concerns about the other options that United Utilities has dismissed.

Mike McCusker explained that local residents understand the reasoning behind the tank but want to work towards better alternatives.

“This isn’t a nimby campaign it’s residents who understand the issue and have got sympathy with those experiencing flooding. But it’s time to get a dialogue now about what is a good alternative to meet that need but not impact upon Three Sisters.”

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