AN MP wants a Site of Special Scientific Interest to be handed to a local community partnership so it can be run as a nature reserve and visitor destination.

Redcar MP Anna Turley said job opportunities could also be created at South Gare, a coastal strip of land in her constituency.

A regeneration proposal has been presented to the South Tees Development Corporation which has been consulting over a ‘masterplan’ for the nearby former SSI steel plant site and the surrounding area.

She said the corporation could hand responsibility for improving South Gare to a partnership of environmental groups and the local community.

The Labour MP has worked with a number of partners, including the RSPB, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and local councillors and volunteers, in developing the proposal.

She said: “The South Gare is a beautiful natural asset, but ownership issues have left the area neglected and undervalued.

“With some care and attention this could be an important nature reserve and major visitor destination, attracting thousands of visitors.

“We urgently want jobs and industry developed on the main SSI site but, if they [the development corporation] give the community the responsibility to manage South Gare, we know we can transform this part of our coastline into something that safeguards wildlife and that the public can enjoy forever.”