Exciting plans to replace the observation tower at Risley Moss Nature Reserve, which was destroyed in a fire, have been revealed.
Arsonists burned the near 40-year-old wooden viewing platform to the ground in an attack in July 2017.
The popular site allowed people to observe wildlife in the area.
The £535,000 scheme to replace the structure – funded by FCC environment, Warrington Borough Council and donations from residents – aims to deliver a stunning new tower.
A total of £250,000 grant funding has been provided by FCC environment through its WREN grant scheme, in addition to £10,000 raised through crowdfunding and Risley Moss Action Group fundraising activities.
And the council will be putting £275,000 towards the project.
The plans were first unveiled at the annual Green Safari event at the nature reserve last month, which was attended by more than 1,200 people.
Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden believes the delivery of a new tower is ‘really important for the community’.
He said: “With funding and a high-quality design in place, it’s now all systems go.
“The new Risley Moss tower will be a huge asset to our much-loved nature reserve and will benefit people for many years to come.
“The plans and illustrations we have now made available showcase the work we’ve been doing to create an attractive, accessible and robust structure.”
The majority of the project will be delivered before the end of March 2020, with finishing touches completed in advance of an opening in the spring of 2020.
Once completed, visitors will be able to enjoy improved views of the mossland expanse and rewetting works that have been carried out over recent years to restore the bog habitat.
Cllr Tony Higgins, executive board member for leisure and community, added: “We are grateful to the community for their support and their patience, while these plans have been developed.
“I’m confident that people who view the plans will share our excitement over the delivery of a fantastic new tower, which will give nature enthusiasts glorious views of this beautiful nature reserve and its varied wildlife.”
Created at the edge of the mossland expanse, the new observation structure will replace the existing block-built hide.
The structure will provide covered space for environmental education activities, while the elevated platform will be large enough to cater for a class of school children.
The area where the former tower stood will be redeveloped, with the steel brackets of the structure being transformed into seating, and the habitat improved.
The plans have been put on permanent display at the Risley Moss visitor centre – and can be viewed online by visiting warrington.gov.uk/risleymoss