Today we are publishing the introduction and section 1 of our objection to planning application 20/00379/OUT to build 180 houses in the meadows at Southwick Court, between Trowbridge and Southwick Village. It is both a summary of the park’s biodiversity and a reminder that we need to protect our green spaces and wildlife whenever and however we can.

Our concerns are for the effect of the 180 houses proposed by planning application 20/00379/OUT on the biodiversity of Southwick Country Park Nature Reserve, the Lambrok corridor and the natural reservoir formed by Southwick Court moat, and the undeveloped greenspace between Trowbridge and the villages of Southwick and North Bradley. We will address these concerns under four headings.

As we learn more about the wildlife of this area, it has become apparent that the biodiversity of Lambrok Stream and Southwick Court’s moat is exceptional. Development along its banks at this site will damage that biodiversity, reducing both the number of species present and their populations; the bridge over the stream will sever the link between the park’s stream and the moat at Southwick Court, which acts as a reservoir for both the stream and its wildlife, ensuring habitat and hunting grounds during times of drought.
We have identified and reported to the WSBRC:

  • eleven Lepidoptera Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework, all identified in the park but not confined by its boundaries; their habitat will extend throughout the Lambrok corridor and the meadowland between Trowbridge and Southwick:

[1] small Heath; [2] white letter hairstreak

Mouse moth
Small square spot moth
The rustic
White letter hairstreak
Small heath
Ghost moth
September thorn
Centre barred sallow
Cinnabar moth
Blood vein moth
Dot moth;

  • fourteen species of Odonata, both in the park and in the moat at Southwick Court:

[3] Emperor dragonfly [4] broad bodied chaser

Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea)
Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis)
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo)
Azure Damselfly
(Coenagrion puella)
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Broad Bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)
Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva), listed under category 3 (scarce) in the British Red Data Book on Insects
Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

[5] otter; [6] water vole;

  • two protected species of mammal dependent upon the stream:

* resident water vole, a priority conservation species, protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981;
* transient Eurasian otter, a European protected species ( EPS ), protected under sections 9 and 11 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981;

  • bullhead (Cottus gobio), subject of a SAC in Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area
  • opposite-leaved pondweed (Groenlandia densa), designated as vulnerable on the Red list conservation status of GB species

It is becoming clear that our little nature reserve, muddy and battered after a long winter of locked-down walkers, is an important resource, a place of safety for a threatened biodiversity. We need, firstly, to recognise the measure of the threat to our green spaces and our wildlife, and then stand up to defend them.

6 thoughts on “

    1. No, the period of public consultation on the Church Lane site ended some time ago; we commented at the time but didn’t publish our comment on the website. This is specifically about the application for the Southwick Court site.
      Please, can I ask you to leave a name when you comment; any will do and you don’t have to leave an email address. If you don’t, it comes up as anonymous and it is our policy not to publish anonymous comments.

  1. Detailed and informative, as we expect from you. I knew yourselves and others would highlight the biodiversity of the Country Park, Southwick Court moat, the river Lambrok and the immense value of the area as a whole.
    So I tried also to question the validity of choosing this site when originally it was considered ‘less sustainable’ and its sustainability has only diminished during the 3 + years since it was proposed.

  2. It is in the best interest of our Country to treasure the biodiversity that has greatly diminished during recent history. It would seem that using valuable countryside to extend the housing stock by accepting plans which are contrary to the National Ecosystem policy is totally wrong.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Joan. The situation is so precarious, our ecosystems so damaged already that it seems almost impossible that the planning department has put up green field sites for development.

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