A number of ecological surveys have been undertaken at the site. This has included a series of surveys to assess the importance of the hedgerows for local bat populations as well as a survey of the existing pond located in the northern part of the site to see if it accommodates Great Crested Newts.
The majority of the site is used for animal grazing and is of very little value in ecological terms. The hedgerows are of some value, principally for the opportunities they offer faunal groups such as birds and bats. In relation to the latter, the hedgerow along the western boundary running along Trinity Lane was observed to serve as a commuting corridor for Pipestrelle bats. As such, the layout of the built development and new lighting will be designed to respect this boundary feature and the perimeter boundary hedging is almost wholly maintained as part of the proposals. Where possible, the proposals will seek to strengthen the ecological value by implementing new woodland and hedgerow planting.
In terms of the existing pond, this was dug around two decades ago and following a survey it was found not to support the protected Great Crested Newt. The emerging proposals seek to remove this currently poor quality pond; its loss will be compensated for by providing a new pond in the alternative location shown on the emerging layout for the site.
On the basis of the surveys undertaken, it is considered that there are no significant constraints that relate to the site in terms of ecology, and in fact the site's biodiversity value can be improved through the provision of new planting and by providing larger habitat features such as a new pond.
We have instructed drainage engineers to assess the surface water drainage issues that affect the site. According to the Environment Agency Flood Map for Planning, the site is entirely located in Flood Zone 1 (Low Risk). It is therefore not considered to be at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea. A desktop study has not revealed any other potential sources of flooding that may impact the proposed development. Consequently, it is regarded as a suitable location for development with respect to flood risk.
Surface water runoff from the proposed development will be managed using Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), which will include an attenuation basin in the lower part of the site. The SuDS will help to ensure that there is no increase in the rate of surface water runoff generated by the site, which we know is a local concern.
The proposed development will therefore result in no detrimental impact in flood risk to the surrounding area and may in fact improve the existing situation.