The project, which is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund, will transform the former playing fields into a valuable wetlands habitat and increase floodwater storage on the floodplain of the River Calder
Work will soon begin on the site, to create new permanent ponds and hollows connected to the River Calder, which will flood naturally as river levels rise.
Reedbeds, tree planting and a wildflower meadow will complement the water attenuation features and together create a diversity of habitats that boosts local biodiversity.
Accessible footpaths, seating areas and interpretation boards are also planned, offering new health and wellbeing benefits for local residents.
Some of the habitat creation work will be carried out by volunteers, working in partnership with the Council, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and local community groups.
There are also plans to establish a friends group to offer opportunities for volunteer involvement and to help manage the nature reserve.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, Councillor Scott Patient, said: “The Brearley Fields project is an innovative and exciting scheme. It will play a part in protecting the local area from flooding and also provide an attractive wetland, nature reserve environment with leisure opportunities and new habitats for wildlife.
“As a natural storage area for floodwater, the project will complement the Environment Agency’s Mytholmroyd Flood Alleviation scheme and our existing Natural Flood Management programmes in partnership with the Environment Agency and local groups.
“These natural schemes are a key part of our approach to tackling flood risk in the borough, combining engineering schemes with community-based approaches. It also supports our wider efforts to reduce the extent of climate change and become more resilient to its impacts.”
Work on Brearley Fields is due to start in May 2021, with initial earthworks due to last approximately eight weeks.
During this period access to the fields will be restricted.
The Brearley Fields wetland reserve is part of Calder Greening, a series of projects partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund to improve green spaces, encourage tourism and business growth, and complement the Flood Alleviation Schemes with naturally managed flood risk across the Calder Valley, delivered in partnership with the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.