WARRINGTON Borough Council is drawing up plans to replace a nature reserve tower destroyed by fire but says that the project faces a number of challenges.

The 40-year-old wooden viewing platform at Risley Moss Nature Reserve was destroyed by an arson attack in July last year.

Since then the council has committed to creating a new structure for observing wildlife.

And while it is 'making progress' on developing these plans, the council says there are 'some challenges ahead'.

The council states that it needs to investigate what kind of structure it should create and how it could be constructed.

It also wants to ensure that the new viewing platform is 'robust, resistant to vandalism and cost-effective to maintain'.

Accessibility is another issue that will be explored.

Cllr Tony Higgins, Warrington Borough Council's executive board member for leisure and community, said: "The Risley Moss observation tower was a really useful resource for local people to look across this beautiful nature reserve and observe the wildlife.

"We share the sense of disgust within the community over the arson attack which destroyed it and we fully understand the need for a suitable replacement.

"I'd like to reassure local people that we are working hard to deliver a solution for the site.

"There are a number of hurdles to overcome - including design, accessiblity and funding for the project.

"However, we are making progress and I would ask people to be patient with us as we continue to work together on deliverable plans."

Council estimates at the time of the fire stated that the replacement would cost at least £200,000, but a number of residents made donations towards the project following the fire.

Cllr Higgins added: "We appreciate the considerable community support for a new structure and the donation which have been so kindly provided by many local people - we also acknowledge the support and contribution from the Risley Moss Action Group.

"We will keep people updated as these plans move forward."