A POPULAR nature reserve in Wirral is under threat again after nearby land was put up for sale for redevelopment.

Located between the Birket and Ditton Lane and Pasture Road, the site is a haven for wildlife, trees and birds and also an important part of the designated flood plain.

The site was also under threat back in 2011.

Then, a campaign by residents persuaded the owners to drop the plan.

It is understood an offer has now been put in for the site, but any application for potential development would have to be submitted to Wirral Council's planning department which, according campaigner say means the reserve's future is uncertain.

Campaigners have stepped up their campaign to save the reserve, with a petition signed so far by 205 people.

The petition www.wirralconservatives.com/dittonLNR

is organised by local campaigner and Conservative candidate Debbie Caplin, is asking for residents' support.

Debbie said: "This is an amazing local amenity that is popular with residents living nearby.

"As well as being part of the important flood plain, it has also attracted a variety of wildlife.

"The Town Hall's failure to have a Local Plan in place to defend our green spaces has put sites such as this at risk.

"If we had a Local Plan that made it clear Ditton Local Nature Reserve could not be built on, it's future would be secure."

Local resident, Dr Paul Ivan added: "This land is part of the flood area where any new buildings can cause flooding to the existing properties and over the years many of us have already had their gardens flooded due to the high level of subterranean water.

"Ditton Lane Nature reserve is also home to a wide variety of animals, plants and trees including the biggest population in the UK of the extremely rare Black Poplar as well as a popular site for dog walkers and bird watchers.

"I hope someone stops this madness before we completely destroy our beautiful countryside and get our homes flooded."

The move comes a week after Wirral Council declared a Climate Emergency following loss of wildlife habitats, biodiversity and climate change.

The land, which surrounds Ditton Lane Nature Reserve in Leasowe, was advertised as a residential building plot on Rightmove.

A spokesperson for Wirral Council said: "This is not council land and the local authority has no powers to intervene in a private sale such as this.

"However, any proposals to develop this site would require planning permission at which point all the issues raised would be considered by members of the Council's planning committee, which includes councillors from all political parties."