by David Feather
Unfortunately, what is clear about the proposed development at H2.6 and the other two proposed housing sites (here and here) in the South of Trowbridge Community Area is that the original studies done for the Wiltshire Housing Site Allocation Plan (WHSAP) proposals were woefully inadequate. Now Wiltshire Council is involved in a poorly evidenced defence of the selection of this site and others in the area, and the developers are taking full advantage of this fact.
The consultants who did the original WHSAP Environmental Assessment for the Southwick Court site (H2.6) commented:
- Development of the site for housing would need to appropriately protect and bolster existing Green Infrastructure to reduce the risk of habitat fragmentation in the local area[.]
- Appropriate planting to bolster existing habitat features and creation of dark corridors (particularly along the Lambrok Stream corridor) would likely be necessary in order to mitigate the effects of development[.]
and concluded, wrongly in the estimation of the Friends of Southwick Country Park:
- No major adverse effects have been identified for this site.
- Five moderate adverse effects have been identified in relation to this site.………
- The site functions as a green infrastructure corridor.
- The fields are large and open in character and exhibit a strong relationship with the Lambrok Stream (and its floodplain)/Southwick Court.
- Development of the site would lead to an urbanising effect.
- The stream and its floodplain, along with mature hedgerows/trees help define a logical edge to the current built framework in landscape terms.
- Mitigation of landscape and visual impacts could be problematic ………
It took three years for Wiltshire’s Housing Site Allocation Plan (WHSAP) to be written, consulted on, examined in public hearings and finally adopted by the council; three years in which FoSCP identified resident water voles, transient otters and the scarce chaser dragonfly, all protected species, in Lambrok Stream; three years in which 15 of the 67 species of birds red-listed by the RSPB, 13 of Britain’s 18 species of native bats and 11 UK BAP Priority Species of Lepidoptera have all been identified in the park.
It seems to me that if the consultants had known more about the Lambrok and about the park, they might well have concluded that there was a major adverse effect and perhaps rejected the site from WHSAP.
More about planning application 20/00379/OUT: