Planning application 18/10035/OUT
Above is the Parameter Plan submitted by RPS with planning application 18/10035/OUT. If you look carefully, there are two grey dotted lines that run from the red site boundary, over the Lambrok Stream, and into the park. Right at the bottom of the key, they are labelled potential foot/cycle links and we assume that a foot/cycle link that crosses the Lambrok will do so on a bridge.
We raised objections to a bridge over the Lambrok from this site, at each of the two previous versions of planning application 18/10035/OUT. Southwick Country Park will be a Local Nature Reserve long before any houses are built on the Church Lane fields, and the last thing a nature reserve needs is landscaped access over its boundary stream for a procession of domesticated predators: cats.
Researchers who recently sampled almost 3000 households showed that 26% of them owned cats. Households with gardens in semi-urban/rural locations, like the houses that RPS is proposing for the Church Lane site, are much more likely to own cats, but let’s, for the sake of simplicity, stick with 26%. Other statistics say that the average cat-owning household will own 1.8 cats.
Here comes the the maths, look away now if you are of a nervous disposition: (55 households ÷ 100) x 26 x 1.8 = 25.74 cats.
If we round the cats up to 26 (please forgive the pun), we have a conservative estimate of the number of predators for which RPS is proposing to build bridges over the Lambrok so that they can hunt wildlife in our Local Nature Reserve. The trouble with domesticated predators is that they can wipe out a prey species. As over-hunted prey becomes scarce, wild predators move on to new hunting grounds and the prey species recovers; domesticated predators go home for their dinner and come back next day to hunt the last few remaining individuals. We fear for our water voles.
Nowhere in application 18/10035/OUT is Southwick Country Park’s forthcoming Local Nature Reserve status acknowledged; all our objections to any plan to breach the protective barrier that the Lambrok forms between the park and the urban edge of Trowbridge have been ignored. If you object to nothing else, please object to these two potential foot/cycle links into the park.
I’ve just emailed the case officer Eileen Medlin and that was one of the points I raised.
Thank you, Barbara. While we may not be able to prevent residential building on the site, we might still be able to minimise the damage done to the park.
A fairly reliable online source says that approximately 275million animals are killed each year by domestic cats in the UK. I don’t know how cat owners can pretend that this is not contributing to the loss of wildlife species.
The RSPB say there’s no clear scientific evidence to suggest cats are responsible for the decline of bird populations. But when a species, like the water vole, is limited to a rare habitat, cats can do an extraordinary amount of damage.
Wiltshire Council is the land owner on the Country Park side of the Lambrok. We need to ensure that Wiltshire Council does not agree to footbridges.