A campaign has been launched at Melton Country Park to prevent its enjoyment being spoiled and wildlife being displaced as a result of planned housing developments along its perimeter.
The Friends of Melton Country Park want a buffer zone of at least 500m around its northern and eastern boundaries, where new housing land has been mooted as part of the Melton Draft Local Plan.
They say such a barrier would limit the impact from noise and light on the wide selection of wildlife which inhabits the park.
It would also safeguard the amenity value of the park for those use it.
A petition has been set up in the visitor centre and hundreds of people have already signed it.
Friends committee member Jean Forbes said: “If the new housing is too close to the park the noise and the lights will stop wildlife coming to and fro.
“Eventually they want to build around the whole perimeter of the park so we could have a situation where no wildlife is coming into it, if we are not careful.
“We are hoping to get a meeting with the developers and I am hoping they will work with us on this.
“They need to know how serious we are about it
“We know we have to have the new houses in Melton but we want to make sure the country park is protected.”
The Local Plan draft does recommend a buffer zone be observed around the edges of the country park but it doesn’t specify a width.
The Friends group say a minimum 500m is needed to safeguard the habitats of wildlife and add further protection to threatened and declining species, including birds, mammals and reptiles, which inhabit the park and its immediate surroundings.
In a statement to accompany their petition, the campaigners state: “The Friends are passionate that Melton Country Park should remain true to its original vision of a diverse park with open aspects to the countryside, to be enjoyed by people and wildlife, now and into the future.”