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Sheerness wildlife photographer's fears about overnight stays at Elmley Nature Reserve have been eased

By Emma Grove

A wildlife photographer sceptical about plans to allow overnight stays at Elmley Nature Reserve says his fears have been put to rest.

The Times Guardian reported earlier this month how huts for guest accommodation will be installed at the site.

It prompted Sheerness resident James McKenzie to write in as he was worried about the effect it would have on the nature and wildlife and even accused the owners of only being interested in making money.

Elmley Marsh

Georgina and Gareth Fulton, who run the reserve, invited him to meet them so they could explain their ideas.

Mr McKenzie went to Elmley on Saturday and was shown around and told about how the project will work.

The pods will be placed well out of view from the reserve, near where there are already dwellings, and there will be strict rules for guests.

The ‘glamping’ area will be monitored 24 hours a day by staff and Mr McKenzie says he now agrees they will not negatively impact on the wildlife and birds.

“Gareth and his wife have great plans for Elmley and have taken everything concerning wildlife and birds into consideration,” the 53-year-old said.

“The future of Elmley is looking great and with a new generation in charge carrying on the great work from the last generation, Elmley can only get better.

“I have no concerns at all that Gareth and his lovely family have everything in hand and have great plans to take the reserve forward and keep it as a great reserve for everyone to enjoy.”

Mr and Mrs Fulton said they were heartened to hear Mr McKenzie’s sentiments as they feel it’s important local people value the Island’s wildlife.

“The opportunity to spend a night in a nature reserve is a really special and unique experience and one which will attract new visitors to stay on Sheppey and visit other parts of the Island,” said Mr Fulton.

It is hoped people will be able to stay in the huts from August.

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