& Ecology

The application site and adjacent habitats have been subject to a range of ecological surveys during 2012 and 2013, including Phase 1 habitat surveys and Phase 2 surveys for Badger, bats, birds, Great Crested Newt, Otter, reptiles and Water Vole.

The site largely comprises amenity grassland, which is considered to be of negligible ecological value. Habitats within the site that are considered to be of higher ecological value comprise mature trees, hedgerows, ponds and Plenty Brook. These features are largely retained under the proposals.

The site is of correspondingly low value to the fauna that it supports, albeit a number of protected species have been recorded present including Water Vole, a number of common bat species, Great Crested Newt and common reptiles, all of which will be safeguarded under the proposals.

The proposed development includes provision of extensive semi-natural greenspace in addition to a network of wetland habitat including an enhanced watercourse corridor and a number of new ponds. A number of further enhancements will be incorporated into the built development, including nest boxes for birds, roosting units for bats, clear span bridges for Water Vole and 'hop-over' features.