WILDLIFE experts' plans to boost a nature reserve at North Fambridge have been approved by Maldon District Council.

The council unanimously approved Essex Wildlife Trust's plans at a north western area planning committee last night (September 8).

Proposals include deepening three areas of the Round Marsh wetland at Blue House Farm reserve, creating a raised walkway to a viewing platform, new banks to minimise disturbance to wildlife, and building a base for a future hide to view wildlife.

The proposals also include a new 2km long and 6ft high "anti-predator" fence, at an estimated cost of £115,000.

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Speaking to the committee, a spokesman for the trust said the aim of the proposal is to further enhance the nature reserve.

He added, the project will compliment existing habitats not only at Blue House Farm but also "the neighbouring designated sites and nature reserves in the River Crouch and Estuary" as it plays a key part in the trust's Essex Wader Strategy.

The trust with the RSPB deliver the strategy with the aim of "reversing declines of nationally-threatened breeding waders in Essex and in the East of England".

He also reassured members the proposal will not create an increased flood risk, confirmed by the flood risk assessment.

A similar planning application on another part of the reserve was given the go-ahead in May.

There had been no objections from consultees, and North Fambridge Parish Council recommend approval.

The case officer told the committee plans "would not cause harm to the character of the area or the amenity of local residents”.

Mark Durham, councillor representing Wickham Bishops and Woodham, said he was happy with plans and thought it should be supported.

The project has been given the green light as committee members unanimously voted through Mr Durham's proposal for approval.

Work is expected to start this month or October so there is no impact on nesting birds.