Planning policy development plan

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Representation 9226 on Examination Consultation Provision for Gypsies and Travellers by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust (Libby Duggan-Jones)

Support / Object: OBJECT
Document Link: Examination Consultation Provision for Gypsies and Travellers - Main Matter 15 - Whether or not the plan would make appropriate provision for gypsy and traveller accommodation over the plan period having regard to the evidence of need and proposed sites?, Issue - Whether or not the proposed sites identified for gypsy and traveller accommodation would be soundly based in terms of their location and site specific impacts, Site GT/06 - Greenway, Wingerworth, Question 25
Representation: Summary by Officer.

No objection to the site in principle; concerns listed below:

Site dominated by amenity grassland, with some scrub and trees along boundaries.
Site is general of low ecological value, with the boundary features providing most interest.
Site likely to be used by wildlife including birds, hedgehogs and foxes, however protected species constraints are unlikely. No badger setts noted, although some 'push throughs' were recorded in west and north, possibly created by foraging badgers from setts in the local area.
A (non-EIA) ecological impact assessment should be undertaken to accompany any planning application.
It's assumed that the development would result in the loss of the amenity grassland and potentially some of the western hedgerow for access.

Where practicable, boundary vegetation should be retained, including the mature ash tree. All trees should be adequately protected with Root Protection Areas.

Unlikely to be any ecological constraints significant enough to prevent development of the site.
At examination: Written representation

Original submission

Proposal: Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation
Location: Temperance Hill, Wooley Moor and Greenway, Wingerworth
Application Ref No: Unknown

With reference to the above application, I am responding as the Biodiversity Planning Officer responsible for work relating to the Service Level Agreement, which the North East Derbyshire District Council and the Trust have signed. The following comments are aimed at providing accurate and up to date information on the nature conservation issues associated with the proposed development.

Response

The Trust responded to the earlier consultations on the Gypsy and Traveller Sites in both May and October 2018. These comments were based on a desk study of the various sites, using our database of biological records and habitat information. Since the previous consultations, the number of potential sites has been narrowed down to four. The Trust have recently been contacted by several members of the public about the Temperance Hill site and therefore we visited the site on 11th January 2019 to ensure that our previous comments are accurate. Given the proximity of the Greenway site and that public access was available, we also visited this site on the same day. It was decided not to visit the other two sites: Dark Lane, North Wingfield and the Old Potato Store as these both appear to comprise already disturbed areas of private land and our previous comments are considered unlikely to change. Additional comments on Temperance Hill and Greenway are provided below:

Temperance Hill
During the visit, it was evident that the site is comprised wholly of amenity grassland, which is of low intrinsic ecological value. A managed hawthorn hedgerow is present on the southern boundary and young to semi-mature ash and sycamore trees are present along the northern boundary. A copse of broadleaved woodland, comprising ash, goat willow and hawthorn amongst other species, is present in the west immediately adjacent to the site. The woodland is situated on a steep slope leading away from the site and towards a small stream. The stream flows into Ogston Reservoir SSSI approximately 300 m south. In terms of species interests, there is abundant evidence of badger activity within the woodland and along the footpath on the northern woodland edge, including badger paths, foraging pits and latrines. There is also evidence of foraging within the amenity grassland, which could be attributable to badger or rabbit. A thorough check of the woodland did not identify any badger setts, however our database shows numerous setts in the local area. The amenity grassland is also likely to be used by foraging birds and small mammal such as hedgehogs.

We acknowledge that the site is located in an 'Area of Primary Sensitivity', however this is largely related to the landscape character of the site and surrounding area rather than ecology.

Should the site be taken forward, a (non-EIA) ecological impact assessment should be undertaken to accompany any planning application. This would assess the impacts of specific proposals for the site and provide detailed mitigation measures. However at this stage, we assume that proposals for three pitches would result in the loss of the amenity grassland. We would advise that the southern hedgerow and northern trees should be retained and that the woodland to the west should be adequately protected with Root Protection Areas and appropriate fencing. An increase in human disturbance to the woodland, along with littering/tipping, may result from the development of the site. In addition, drainage should be carefully considered to ensure pollution impacts to the stream and potentially Ogston Reservoir are fully assessed. Depending on the nature of drainage proposals, the LPA may wish to consult Natural England as the site falls within the risk zone of the SSSI. Ultimately, there are unlikely to be any ecological constraints significant enough to prevent development of the site (Guidelines for Ecological Impact Assessment in the UK and Ireland, CIEEM, 2018), however development has the potential to be detrimental to the adjacent woodland and cause a minor loss of foraging habitat for local wildlife. This should be considered by the LPA as the National Planning Policy Framework 2018 aims for development and planning decisions to achieve a net biodiversity gain. Mitigation/compensation measures may be necessary to achieve this.

Greenway
This site is dominated by amenity grassland, with a linear belt of scrub and semi-mature ash and sycamore trees along the northern boundary. A mature ash tree is located on the western boundary within a poorly-managed elder and hawthorn hedge. A managed beech hedgerow is located along the southern boundary and an elder and hawthorn hedgerow is present for approximately half the length of the eastern boundary. The site in general is of low ecological value, with the boundary features providing most interest. In terms of species interests, no badger setts were noted within the site boundary, although 'push throughs' were recorded in the western hedgerow and paths within the northern scrub. These may be created by foraging badgers from setts in the local area, identified on our database. The site is likely to be used by other local wildlife including birds, hedgehogs and foxes, however protected species constraints are unlikely.

Should the site be taken forward, a (non-EIA) ecological impact assessment should be undertaken to accompany any planning application. This would assess the impacts of specific proposals for the site and provide mitigation measures. However at this stage, we assume that proposals for three pitches would result in the loss of the amenity grassland and potentially some of the western hedgerow for access. We would advise that where practicable, boundary vegetation is retained, including the mature ash tree. All trees should be adequately protected with Root Protection Areas. There are unlikely to be any ecological constraints significant enough to prevent development of the site.

It is hoped that the information provided is helpful to the Council. If you require any further information or wish to discuss any of the comments made, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,
Libby Duggan-Jones
Biodiversity Planning Officer

Attached Files for this Submission


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