A GROUP of community spirited Gornal folk want to turn an overgrown field plagued with litter into a nature reserve.

Gornal Field, which borders Roundhouse Road, Sandstone Close and The Holloway, is well used by dog walkers and schoolchildren and is also a haven for wildlife, including bats, badgers, newts and birds of prey.

But it is currently in a “very bad state” according to Kirsty Barrett, who has helped to set up the new Friends of Gornal Field group.

She said: “The field has become neglected and overgrown and the amount of litter is appalling, it’s everywhere.

“The other problem we have at the moment is fly tipping, we have people pulling up in their cars and emptying the boot into the field.”

Despite its drawbacks, she said the field has “so much potential”, adding: “It just needs someone to take care of it and that’s why we’ve set up the group, we want to get the community together to work as a team and improve it.”

Dudley Council has been looking at future opportunities for the open space and intends to address the issues with antisocial behaviour and fly tipping, enhance the site for wildlife and make more of the geological value of the land.

Although there are no firm plans in place, ground investigation work has taken place at the site over the last few weeks.

A letter the council sent to residents said there was a possibility that “some building on the least sensitive parts of the site may be considered” to fund environmental improvements but stressed that would be dependent on the result of the investigations and subject to consultation.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, Dudley’s cabinet member for environmental services, said the council would welcome any input the group had about the site’s future.

She added: “We would be happy to discuss proposals with this new group to see how we can help them enhance Gornal Field.

“We support many parks friends groups across the borough to help enhance and develop our parks and open spaces.”

Mrs Barrett said the group would prefer it if none of the land was sold off but added: “If bits of it were sold, it would not be the end for us. We would continue to work on the field and try and turn it into something the whole community can be proud of.”

She said preserving the field’s wildlife and flowers, regular litter picks, re-instating paths and improving signage and disabled access was high on the group’s agenda but all ideas would be welcomed and discussed during a meeting on Tuesday (August 15).

The meeting is open to anyone with an interest in the field and will be held between 7pm and 8pm, in the back room of the British Legion in Five Ways, Lower Gornal.

Gornal councillor David Stanley told the News that he would be attending the meeting as the group had his “full support” and admiration.

He said: “The public right of way does get very overgrown from time to time and it would be good to have a group working with the local authority to manage these paths and keep the site looking nice.

“They’ve got some very good plans.”