AMAS has a role as a campaigning organisation. We were formed in 2005 with a concern that the City Council placed insufficient value upon the Nature Reserve and that the allocated resources did not enable the Riverside Rangers to adequately manage a complex site. Whilst this remains an issue, there have been numerous achievements, some of which have been directly influenced by the campaigning and lobbying actions of AMAS.
For example, in August 2007, the city won a bid for £5 million to increase its capacity for football. One of the sites selected for development into football pitches, clubhouses and car parks was the Aylestone Meadows Nature Reserve. AMAS spearheaded an eighteen-month campaign that challenged this development with support from Leicester Civic Society, Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust, Leicester Friends of the Earth, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Europa Nostra.
Throughout this period the City Council insisted that no alternative site was available and the issue attracted wide-spread publicity and controversy. After much hard campaigning by this alliance of conservation organisations, the intended development was finally overturned in March 2011 with the help of the newly elected city mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, who promised a different approach to the LNR in the future. It was a decision that recognised the importance of the site for community and wildlife alike, and though it was a close vote the future of the meadows was secured.
Other campaigns have involved opposition to planning applications – e.g. a proposal to cut down two mature horse chestnut trees at the Marsden Lane entrance was successfully overturned following objections by AMAS.
We are currently lobbying the City Council to provide improved disabled access facilities onto the Great Central Way (watch this space for news of the outcome), and are working with them to tackle anti-social behaviour and vandalism on the site. Our lobbying activities are ongoing; we are in touch with local councillors, police, city council officers and the City Mayor, ensuring that Aylestone Meadows retains a high profile and that the importance of the site is not lost on the City Council.