AN INNER city park is set to be declared a local nature reserve.

Peartree Green could soon be awarded the special status, giving it increased protection from future development.

It comes after civic chiefs signed off on the proposal, submitted by Friends of Peartree Green.

Chairman, Paul Lewzey, who is also a city councillor for Peartree ward, said: “We are delighted that the cabinet has agreed to this.

“This green space is a key part of the amenity for residents in Woolston, right down to Bitterne and Sholing.

“This status gives it another layer of protection against future development.

“It’s another way of the city expressing its determination to keep this as a green space.”

Work began on acquiring the nature reserve status for Peartree Green earlier this year.

As part of the project, which involved writing an extensive report on the 17.5 hectare site, the group invited city school children to map the area’s wildlife.

Alongside a butterfly hunt, the group also used humane traps to record the number of mammals.

Councillor Lewzey said the group found several types of small mammals, including mice and voles.

He added: “There is plenty of interesting fauna and flora on the site.”

As part of the designation, due to be confirmed following the results of a public consultation, the group has set out its plans to improve Peartree Green.

These include better signage and an improved pathway, which will make the area more accessible for people with disabilities.

However, councillor Lewzey said that the plans were still at an early stage and the group would work with the council to provide the improvements.

Once confirmed, Peartree Green will become the city’s fifth local nature reserve.

The other four are Chessel Bay, Millers Pond, Netley Common and Westwood Woodland Park.