Ecological Support to Residential Development, Littleover, Derbyshire

Background

BSG Ecology was appointed by David Wilson Homes in 2005 to provide ecological support and advice in relation to a proposed residential development for 1,000 new dwellings on farmland at Littleover, Derbyshire. This work provided the ecological basis to secure initial planning consent in 2009, and a subsequent extension to this outline consent was secured in 2014. Our involvement on the client team included the delivery of pre-application ecological baseline surveys and Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) services through to the successful discharge of ecological planning conditions.

The site is currently being developed by a consortium of housebuilder companies: Miller Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt David Wilson Homes.

BSG Ecology’s Role in the Project

BSG Ecology undertook baseline ecological surveys from 2005 onwards and provided ecological advice with regard to development design as the scheme evolved.

A desk study and extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey were initially completed. Subsequent baseline survey work focused on relevant protected species including badger, water vole, great crested newt, bats (roost and bat activity surveys), characterization of the breeding bird community and assessment of hedgerow quality.

Littleover Residential DevelopmentThe work identified a number of Important Hedgerows under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997, breeding birds of particular conservation concern, active badger setts and more than 40 mature trees considered to have potential to support roosting bats. Aerial tree surveys were completed in conjunction with evening emergence and dawn re-entry survey work to establish the presence or likely absence of roosts. One soprano pipistrelle roost was located in one of the trees as a result of the work.

The survey results informed the ecology chapter within the Environmental Statement for the outline planning application for which permission was received in 2009.  We were subsequently commissioned to update the ecological baseline for the site to support a time extension to the planning permission, which was consented in 2014.

Following receipt of the outline consent, BSG Ecology worked closely with the client team including the housebuilder companies and landscape architect throughout the detailed design phase to identify opportunities for enhancement. The resulting landscape scheme included the retention and management of key ecological features within the development; these were the important hedgerows, mature trees, watercourses and unimproved grasslands.  In addition, enhancement was delivered through the creation of a new Country Park, including the creation of meadow grassland and new hedgerows.

An Ecological Mitigation, Management and Monitoring Plan was produced in order to discharge a planning condition attached to the consent. This concise plan identified measures to reduce and monitor impacts on protected and notable species including nesting birds, bat roosts, badger, and white letter hairstreak butterfly through the construction and operational phases of development. The plan also provided detailed habitat creation measures and aftercare management for meadow grasslands, wetlands, woodland and hedgerows, and, the long-term management of these new habitats and the retained hedgerows and trees, watercourses and ponds.

BSG Ecology also undertook a Code for Sustainable Homes ecological assessment on behalf of Miller Homes to advise on the number of credits that could be achieved (for Eco1 to Eco4) in accordance with industry guidance.

Outcome

The site is currently being built by the three housebuilder companies and the sale of properties is underway. The successful delivery of 1,200 new homes to the south of Derby makes a significant contribution to the housing provision in the South Derbyshire district.

Ecological Support to Residential Development, Littleover, Derbyshire – Project Profile

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