The site is subject to an intensive agricultural management regime, with the majority of it judged to be of limited intrinsic value in ecological terms with only the hedgerows being of value within the context of the site.
A range of protected/notable species surveys have been performed since 2018 and have identified a number of issues that any application must address. Populations of the rarer Horseshoe bats from nearby roost sites utilise the site for foraging/commuting.
The green infrastructure has therefore been designed to allow passage of bat populations across the site with strategic bat crossings and sufficient areas of habitat to ensure dark bat corridors.
Small populations of common reptiles (slow-worm) are present within areas that have escaped regular management and these populations will be retained within new enhanced habitats.
A biodiversity net gain approach has been applied when developing proposals for the site to achieve the emerging governmental target of 10% net gain. Given the site is subject to intensive agricultural management, the proposals therefore present significant opportunities to provide new habitats of greatly enhanced biodiversity value.
The following new habitats have been incorporated into the proposed master plan now presented to achieve this:
These new habitats will be managed in perpetuity, either by a dedicated management company that would be set up by the developers of the site or if preferred, the Town Council.
The retention of the hedgerow network has also been integral to the layout of the green infrastructure and further strengthen the network of wildlife corridors (in particular those for bats). Whilst some hedgerow loss is inevitable, new hedgerow planting will compensate for the loss within the green infrastructure areas with a 1 loss : 1.5 gain to be targeted.
Further hedgerow (and other habitats) would be provided within developable areas outside of the green infrastructure network. Our initial biodiversity net gain calculations show that a 13% net gain can be achieved.
Whilst we hope most people will be able to access this information online, a printed version of the consultation can be viewed by appointment at Rook Lane Chapel, Bath Street, Frome, BA11 1DN for the duration of the consultation period.
To arrange an appointment, please telephone 01373 468 030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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