Ecological feature map
The majority of the site comprises large arable fields that are of limited ecological value. Several valuable ecological features have been identified, including:
- Sandford Brake County Wildlife Site (CWS) adjacent to the eastern site boundary;
- Trees and hedgerows, including Bushy Copse, along the southern site boundary;
- Seasonally-wet stream and pond;
- wintering and breeding farmland birds; and
- bats that may be roosting in some of the trees on the site.
In response to these findings, the emerging proposals for the site have sought to retain and enhance the site’s valuable ecological features. The key design principles that have shaped the emerging masterplan are as follows:
- substantial landscape buffers to Sandford Brake CWS and Bushy Copse;
- buffer and enhanced hedgerow and tree network, where possible;
- retain and enhance the seasonally wet stream;
- retain the pond and create new permanent waterbodies that also assist with sustainable drainage requirements;
- create new wetland, grassland and woodland habitats that enhance opportunities for notable species to be supported by the site and local area; and
- maintain and create a network of wildlife corridors across the site that link with the wider landscape.
Owing to the relatively limited ecological value of the existing intensively-farmed arable fields the scheme offers considerable potential to deliver ecology benefits, principally through the creation of new woodland and wetland habitat that will provide increased opportunities for wildlife such as birds, bats and amphibians.