Wiltshire Council planners have agreed to the registration of the 33-acre Fitzgerald Farm, commonly known as Broken Bridges, between Lower Bemerton and Harnham as an asset of community value (ACV).

In approving the application, Wiltshire Council said it took into account the existing public right of way’s usage for recreational and exercise purposes.

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Wiltshire Council further said: “There have also been multiple references to birdwatching and interesting flora and fauna, including protected species.

"Taking these together, it is considered that current non-ancillary use of the land furthers the social interests (cultural, recreational and sporting) of the local community and it is realistic to think it could continue to do so in future.”

The directors of the Broken Bridges Nature Reserve have said that they are pleased with the outcome, which has the effect of preventing the land from being sold for six months, providing the opportunity for fundraising to purchase the property for the public interest and protect it for biodiversity.

Jeremy Nettle, chair of Broken Bridges Nature Reserve Ltd., which submitted the ACV application, said: “We are working very hard on raising the monies needed to buy the land and make it more accessible.

"We were so grateful that around 220 local people supported our Asset of Community Value application and we are very upbeat about our chances of success. It is a really exciting project - please watch out for more news, including how to contribute, very shortly.”