Aspect Ecology’s input to the design of a wildlife corridor leads to a biodiversity net gain and enables LPA to withdraw its reason for refusal, facilitating the grant of planning permission at appeal
Bath and North East Somerset Council refused permission for a site in Bath in March 2020, with ecology cited as a reason for refusal. Aspect Ecology (under the lead of Senior Director Alistair Baxter) was brought in to take a fresh look at the ecology work undertaken for the application by the original ecologist and prepare evidence for an appeal. The site sits in a disused railway corridor and was formerly in use as a car showroom and workshop. The disused railway forms a wildlife corridor but the existing development acts as barrier to movement due to the presence of buildings and lighting. Accordingly, the scheme offered an opportunity to enhance the corridor for wildlife.
Aspect Ecology advised the developer that the appeal scheme would benefit from a number of modifications to the design and landscaping which were subsequently incorporated. These modifications ensured that a main Badger sett and a population of Slow Worms were fully safeguarded. In addition, we examined the lighting scheme in detail, and following the incorporation of our recommendations, a fully dark corridor suitable for light sensitive bat species, such as Lesser Horseshoe bat, was created across the site. As a result we were able to show that these updates to the proposals would lead to a 16% net gain for biodiversity, under the Defra 2.0 metric.
We presented these proposed updates to the scheme to the Planning Authority who were very pleased and confirmed that the modified design fully satisfied their previous ecological concerns. As a result they withdrew the reason for refusal which avoided the need to present ecology evidence at the inquiry.
The appeal was subsequently heard and planning permission granted. The decision can be found at this link: https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3258121
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