At last! Wiltshire Council has added the requirement that the WHSAP sites bordering Lambrok Stream at Church Lane (H2.4), Upper Studley (H2.5) and Southwick Court (H2.6), should be treated as a single ecological unit.
In the schedule of Further Main Modifications (EXAM/33; p19, FMM23) it is proposed that:
. . retention and enhancement of existing hedgerows and trees as part of wider landscaping and green infrastructure requirements, and the creation of a publicly accessible Green Infrastructure corridor along the Lambrok Stream to protect and enhance the character, biodiversity and amenity provided by Southwick Country Park in conjunction with development at Southwick Court and Church Lane;
On the same page, the council later states:
Any cumulative issues associated with heritage, landscape, biodiversity and highway access should be considered on a comprehensive and consistent basis for allocations H2.4, H2.5 and H2.6to ensure that new development sensitively addresses the urban edge of town.
This is excellent news for the park’s water voles, a protected species living in the banks of Lambrok Stream and its tributary all the way through the park, under the road, along the foot of the allocated site at Upper Studley and probably right through the fields at Southwick Court. This means that Wiltshire Council and developers at any of these sites must plan together to protect the Lambrok’s water voles.
Water voles are one of Britain’s most critically endangered species, fully protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and a priority conservation species; it is listed as endangered on the IUCN red list. It is against the law and punishable by huge fines or even prison, to so much as disturb a water vole’s burrow, never mind build a house on top of it.
The new policies written for each allocated site talk of master plans. It isn’t clear from this draft schedule exactly how, when and with whom such a plan would be drawn up but we would like to suggest, please, a master plan for the Lambrok designed to protect the stream and its occupants.
Thank you, Wiltshire Council, for taking our ecological concerns seriously.