12:55PM, Thursday 12 May 2022
Further details on biodiversity enhancement measures regarding the 2,000 home development on Maidenhead Golf Course will ‘come forward’ as the process creeps towards the planning application stage.
The Advertiser understands there are a number of species and habitats which are protected by law in and around the site.
Information seen by the Advertiser shows that a previous report from the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (TVERC) said a number of species protected by law had originated from the site, including red kites, song thrushes, dunnocks, ruderal bumblebees and stag beetles.
Furthermore, the golf course site had ‘suitability’ for a number of species which were not present at the time of the report, or found within 2km of the site, including hedgehogs, reptiles, badgers and bats.
Debbie Ludford, of the Maidenhead Great Park group, said that there are ‘a number of bat species living around the golf course’.
She added: “[These include] common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, noctule, serotine and long-eared bats.
“All bats and their roosts are protected under The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.”
Government advice recommends local planning authorities ‘take advice from Natural England or the Environment Agency’ about planning applications that may affect protected species.
A spokesperson for the Royal Borough confirmed it had ‘worked constructively with Natural England in preparing the Borough Local Plan’ and would continue to do so in informing the supplementary planning document for the golf course and the surrounding areas.
They added: “The Borough Local Plan already sets out some high-level key requirements for South West Maidenhead to support biodiversity, including creation of a green/blue infrastructure network helping wildlife move across the site, with further detail around biodiversity measures set to come forward as the development progresses through the planning process.
“Overall, we are very clear that the development will need to deliver net biodiversity gain and this is key in our planning policy.
“Developers will need to undertake ecological surveys of their sites to accompany their planning applications, identify protected species, consider impacts on habitats, and meet any legal obligations in relation to any protected species.”
The 2,000-home development is being spearheaded by the council in collaboration with CALA Homes. A spokesperson for the developer said: “CALA fully understands the importance of protecting wildlife and habitats, and work is underway to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place as part of our plans for Maidenhead Golf Course.
“Ecological surveys are being undertaken by expert, independent ecologists and these will look at a variety of factors including protected species and habitats.
“When action is required on any of our developments, we work with independent specialists and in accordance with the relevant legislation to create bespoke management plans.
“We are committed to engaging with the local community and stakeholders in developing proposals for the allocation and look forward to sharing our approach to the protection and enhancement of biodiversity on AL13 in due course.”
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