Catherington Down under the spotlight

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A MEETING could be held to decide the future ownership and management of a wildlife oasis.

Catherington Down, which is owned by Hampshire County Council, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest which supports a variety of plants, birds and insects.

Since 2004 it has been managed by Horndean Parish Council’s countryside team.

Two years ago councillors voted to take over the ownership of the land from the county council – but that decision could soon be reversed.

The parish council will decide at its meeting on Monday whether to call for an extraordinary meeting to be held to discuss the issue.

Council clerk Tracy Predeth said: ‘In 2010, members of the council resolved to take on ownership of Catherington Down – however it has taken Hampshire County Council nearly two years to transfer the ownership.

‘Since this time, the parish council has had a vast turnover of members who were not members at the time that this resolution was made, and members are questioning the cost of maintaining open space sites within the parish within the financial resources that we have.’

The reserve supports 23 species of butterfly.