It’s time to review the progress of the planning applications to build houses on the three allocated sites next to Lambrok Stream.
The Wiltshire Housing Sites Allocation Plan (WHSAP) was adopted by Wiltshire Council in February at one of the last cabinet meetings before lockdown began. There was then a long silence while everybody considered a changed future and tried to work from home. Now that the lockdown is being incrementally lifted, the various plans for WHSAP sites H2.4 at Church Lane, H2.5 at Upper Studley and H2.6 at Southwick Court (see header picture) have re-emerged, blinking, into the light.
Protected species identified in the Lambrok corridor: 1. water vole and 2. otter;
RPS’s Planning application 18/10035/OUT for H2.4 at Church Lane and Waddeton Park’s Planning Application 20/00379/OUT for H2.6 at Southwick Court are being prepared for resubmission some time before the end of September. Newland Homes put 18/00033/PREAPP into the public domain in a Statement of Common Ground with Wiltshire Council submitted to the WHSAP public hearings in April of 2019; it appears to be the basis of an outline plan that will be submitted in September.
All three of these applications will undergo a six week period of public consultation and the target date for a decision on all three seems to be December 31st. This may or may not be significant: the Environment Bill and it’s new layer of environmental protections will not come into effect until January 2021 and we don’t know if plans passed before the Environment Bill is adopted will be required to meet its standards. We need to be careful: lockdown has not only delayed all kinds of legislation but has turned our attention away from these essential environmental issues.
3. bullhead and 4. opposite leaved pondweed;
We do know that the newly adopted WHSAP makes two important policy statements for all three sites that pertain to Lambrok Stream:
– retention and enhancement of 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 value and amenity of Southwick Country Park – – –
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 H2.6 to ensure that new development sensitively addresses the urban edge of the town.
We have already been approached by representatives from Waddeton Park and Newland Homes to discuss the cumulative issues of biodiversity assessment and enhanced biodiversity value, and their plans for a green infrastructure corridor along Lambrok Stream.
5&6. two species of an outstanding assemblage of Odonata.
These three sites have been allocated for housing and we will not be able to change that. But we may be able to ensure that all the environmental protections are in place, that all legal requirements are being met and that the Lambrok’s important biota and its contribution to the wider Biss catchment area is not only understood and respected but integrated into a local Nature Recovery Network.