Loch and wildlife haven handed over to the public in housing deal

A loch, marshland and wild flower meadow stretching across more than 120 acres on the outskirts of Glasgow has been handed over to public ownership as part of a home-building deal.

Frankfield Loch and its surrounding land has been transferred to North Lanarkshire Council by Taylor Wimpey under planning conditions for its development, near Stepps.

It’s hoped the site, a haven for wildlife, will go on to become a new nature reserve and provide well-being benefits for local communities.

Frankfield Loch itself falls within the Glasgow City Council constituency, while the surrounding land is part of the Seven Lochs Wetland Park, which stretches from Hogganfield Park in Glasgow to Drumpellier Country Park in North Lanarkshire.

Frankfield Loch is now in public ownership. It is described as a 'jewel' in the crown' for birdwatchers, with numerous species - including ruff - found in the area

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The area is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and the loch itself is one of many kettle ponds in Scotland, which were formed when the glaciers retreated after the last ice age.

It has a rich and diverse mix of wetland and woodland habitat, hosting a wide variety of birds, pond life, wild flowers and insects throughout the year.

It has been described as a ‘jewel in the crown’ for birdwatchers, with species including water rail, great crested grebe, lapwing, ruff, tufted duck and wigeon appearing throughout the seasons.

The land transfer, one of Taylor Wimpey’s most unusual, has been welcomed by councillors and the developers.

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Frankfield Loch and surrounding land near Stepps have been officially handed over to public ownership as part of a house-building deal between developer Taylor Wimpey and North Lanarkshire Council

Anna Richardson, city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, said: “This is great news for Glasgow – Frankfield Loch is a fantastic asset for the city, giving local people and visitors the chance to enjoy this natural space, home to beautiful wildlife and plants.

“These spaces are of benefit to us not only in environmental terms, but for our health and well-being.”

Michael McPake, convener of the environment and transportation committee at North Lanarkshire Council, said: “This is an exciting development for North Lanarkshire, as we take ownership of a beautiful area of land which will be a real asset for residents and visitors to enjoy the wildlife here

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“We plan to create a local nature reserve at the site to protect the many species of birds, mammals, butterflies and insects that live in the woodland, water, reed beds and grassland.

Tufted ducks can also be seen at the loch, while the surrounding area hosts myriad other wildlife

“The work that Taylor Wimpey have carried out at the site is a great start, and we will continue to enhance the land as part of our greenspace asset and through our partnership with the Seven Lochs Wetland Park.”

Graeme Oswald, design and planning manager for Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, said: “The transfer of the land marks a significant milestone for Taylor Wimpey, whereby new residential development has been successfully integrated within an enhanced SINC.

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“The land transfer, together with a significant management fund, allows the area to be preserved to the benefit of the wider public, for generations to come.

“We believe that people can benefit from having access to the landscape and nature which surrounds them, and Frankfield Loch, Stepps, serves as a strong example of nature and development delivering a unique and peaceful environment in which to live.”

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