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Proposed development near Tiddesley Wood

Posted: Thursday 27th July 2017 by ColinsBlog

Tiddesley Wood (c) Paul LaneTiddesley Wood (c) Paul Lane

Colin explains the Trust's approach to the planning system and our response to a proposed development near our Tiddesley Wood nature reserve...

Local media recently carried an article regarding a proposed development of 150 new houses adjacent to Tiddesley Wood near Pershore. This is a matter of substantial concern to the Trust as not only is Tiddesley Wood one of the finest ancient woodlands in the county (it is scheduled as a Site of Special Scientific Interest) but also the majority of the wood is owned and managed by the Trust as one of our flagship reserves.

There has been a public exhibition in Pershore Town Hall where the developers were seeking comment from the public before a planning application is submitted. Last week we were able to meet representatives of the developers to see an outline plan for the scheme and to provide feedback on the Trust’s position.

Before dealing with this specific proposal I think it is important to summarise how the Trust approaches the planning system. Formally our policy states: The Trust will seek to influence and make best use of the planning system to protect and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem functions where possible. It will continue to work closely with Local Authorities, partner organisations and developers to use the planning process to prevent harmful development and deliver best practice in the enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystem functions.

In practice this means we focus our input in a number of ways:

Policy Input – We provide substantial input into the strategic development plans that are produced by local planning authorities and others that set the overall planning policies and identify which parcels of land are allocated for development.

Planning application responses – Each year the Trust scrutinises many hundreds of planning applications but inevitably we can only make a substantial input into those that pose the greatest threats or opportunities for wildlife. These tend to be the larger proposals where we seek to work with developers to design in best practice for wildlife at an early stage in the process.

Training – By providing training and support for Local Planning Authorities’ and other partners’ staff, many of the development proposals submitted can be usually be effectively dealt with in terms of wildlife without direct input from the Trust.

Partnership working and communicating our message – Collaborating with other environmental partners and promoting the importance of biodiversity to communities and the public to help achieve the best results for wildlife.

So, returning to the proposal adjacent to Tiddesley Wood, I can confirm that we have made it clear that based on the proposal as presented the Trust fully expects to object for a number of reasons:

  • The proposed development lies outside the agreed allocations for development in the South Worcestershire Development Plan.
  • We do not consider that the proposal protects the special value of Tiddesley Wood let alone enhance it.
  • We are very concerned that the proposal would increase uncontrolled use of and damage to Tiddesley Wood.

While the developers have clearly indicated that they are willing to respond to our concerns it is difficult to see how these could be overcome.  We anticipate further engagement in the determination of this application and we look forward to seeing more meaningful details regarding potential impacts on wildlife, and mitigation for these, in due course.

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