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1 PLANNING COMMITTEE 16th May 2007 PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO APPEALS BY

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1 PLANNING COMMITTEE 16th May 2007 PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO APPEALS BY Powered By Docstoc
					PLANNING COMMITTEE

16th May 2007

PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO APPEALS BY SECRETARY OF STATE FOR
DEFENCE, MINISTRY OF DEFENCE AND TAYLOR WOODROW
DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED AT LAND AT BOURLEY ROAD, LEIPZIG
ROAD/BEACON HILL ROAD, WAKEFORDS COPSE AND QUEEN
ELIZABETH II BARRACKS, SANDY LANE, CHURCH CROOKHAM

Report of:     Robert Jackson, Development Control Manager

1.       PURPOSE OF REPORT

              To gain Member endorsement of the case that is being
               presented on the Council’s behalf at the Public Inquiry that was
               due to commence on 15 May 2007 in relation to the
               amendments which were accepted by the appeal inspector in
               relation to the Queen Elizabeth II Barracks site.

2.       RECOMMENDATIONS

              That the Planning Committee endorses the Council’s statement
               as set out in Annex 2 of Appendix A.

3.       BACKGROUND

              The Background to this case is set out in Appendix A.

4.           FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

              The Council has provided the necessary funds to allow the
               Council to present a full case at the Public Inquiry. This report
               does not and should not increase the financial liability on the
               Council.




CONTACT: Robert Jackson, Development Control Manager
DIRECT DIAL: (01252) 774484       EMAIL: robert.jackson@hart.gov.uk




                                         1
APPENDIX A

1.0   Introduction

1.1   At a Special Meeting on 14 July 2005 the Planning Committee, against
      Officer advice, refused four applications for planning permission for:

             Outline planning application for the development of 132
             residential dwellings at Wakefords Copse (00/00522/OUT) (Now
             known as “Appeal D”)

             Outline planning application for the redevelopment of former
             military barracks comprising approximately (but not more than)
             1000 dwellings; a local centre; a school; a community hall;
             formal and informal recreation open space; and five retained
             SINCs on land at the Queen Elizabeth II Barracks, Fleet
             (00/00930/OUT) (“Appeal E”)

             Application for a new roundabout to include a new car park and
             the erection of 3 no. interpretation boards at the junction of
             Leipzig Road and Beacon Hill Road (04/02304/FUL) (“Appeal
             C”)

             Reduction of Bourley Road Car Park, parking management
             proposals and the erection of 8 no. interpretation boards
             (04/02305/FUL) (“Appeal B”)

1.2   The applications were refused for the reasons set out at Annex 1.

1.3   Appeals were lodged against these refusals and a public inquiry was
      due to commence on 15 May 2007. The inquiry was also to consider
      an appeal relating to proposed development at the Redfields Garden
      Centre, Ewshot Lane, Church Crookham, but this appeal was
      withdrawn in early April 2007.

2.0   Changes to the proposals

2.1   In November 2006 the appellants submitted various amendments to
      the appeal proposals to the Secretary of State and requested that she
      consider them as part of the appeal process. This only related to the
      main Queen Elizabeth II Barracks site which is the subject of
      application reference 00/00930/FUL (Appeal E).

2.2   Hart District Council considered that these amendments were
      substantial and should have been the subject of a new application for
      planning permission, which would have allowed full and proper
      consultation and the Council made representations to the Secretary of
      State to this effect.

2.3   Following protracted correspondence, the Inspector instructed to hold
      the Inquiry decided on 26 February 2007 to accept the amendments.



                                     2
2.4   The description of the development has been amended to the
      following:

            Demolition and redevelopment of the former Queen Elizabeth II
            Barracks for up to 1,000 dwellings including live/work
            accommodation; a site for a primary school, a site for a religious
            building; a local centre including a supermarket and other shops,
            of up to 700 sq metres in total, a medical facility, a day nursery
            and upto 1,000m2 of class B1(a) development; a community hall
            and sports changing facilities; formal and informal open space
            and recreation areas including a skateboard/BMX park; roads
            and new junctions at Sandy Lane and at Naishes Lane and a
            junction of Sandy Lane/Naishes Lane, the undertaking of works
            associated with the recreational management of three Sites of
            Importance for Nature Conservation; and a 5 space car park
            adjacent to Naishes Lane.

2.5   The following table sets out the principal changes:

       2005 Refusal                       To be considered at the Inquiry
       Redevelopment of former Military   Demolition and redevelopment of
       Barracks comprising: approx. (but  the former Queen Elizabeth II
       not more than) 1000 dwelling       Barracks for up to 1,000 dwellings
       houses                             including live/work
                                          accommodation
       a local centre (containing retail  a local centre including a
       food store (of approx but not more supermarket and other shops, of
       than 500 square metres)            up to 700 sq metres in total
       additional A1/A3 units,
       creche                             a day nursery
       Medical Centre and pharmacy        a medical facility
       School                             a site for a primary school
       community hall                     a community hall and sports
                                          changing facilities
                                          a site for a religious building
                                          upto 1,000m2 of class B1(a)
                                          development
       formal and informal recreational   formal and informal open space
       open space                         and recreation areas including a
                                          skateboard/BMX park
       five retained SINCs (Soanes        the undertaking of works
       Copse, Wood Copse, Soanes          associated with the recreational
       Field, Wakefords Copse and part management of three Sites of
       of Ewshot Marsh                    Importance for Nature
                                          Conservation
                                          roads and new junctions at Sandy
                                          Lane and at Naishes Lane and a
                                          junction of Sandy Lane/Naishes
                                          Lane



                                      3
        2005 Refusal                          To be considered at the Inquiry
                                              a 5 space car park adjacent to
                                              Naishes Lane

2.6    In addition, the Secretary of State has issued what is known as a
       “Regulation 19 Request” under the Town and Country Planning
       (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations
       1999 (as amended). This is to update the Environmental Statement
       which was submitted in conjunction with the application.

2.7    An amended Environmental Statement was submitted in January 2007.

2.8    Since November 2006 the appellants have been seeking to submit a
       revised application for the area roughly covered by the Wakefords
       Copse and Beacon Hill/Leipzig Road roundabout proposals sites
       (Appeals D and C), application reference 06/02504/MAJOR – known
       as the “New Wakefords Copse Application”.

2.9    Officer’s believed that this application was invalid for various reasons,
       and in February 2007 the appellants purported to submit an appeal
       against non-determination with the Secretary of State. At that time the
       Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the Secretary of State agreed that
       as the Environmental Statement had not been submitted until January
       2007 an appeal could not have been lodged at that time and turned the
       appeal away.

2.10   There were various other reasons for invalidity and it was not until
       26 April 2007 that these were satisfactorily resolved and consequently
       it will not be until 10 August 2007 that it might be possible to appeal on
       the grounds of non-determination.

2.11   The appellants maintain differently and it will be up to the Secretary of
       State to resolve this matter if an appeal is lodged before August.

3.0    Council’s preparation for the Inquiry

3.1    As Officers had recommended the applications for approval and
       because of the length of time that preparations for the inquiry would
       have taken the Head of Planning Services decided in August 2005 to
       appoint consultants to look at the case and firstly see whether there
       was a case to be made and if so to present evidence at the Inquiry on
       this behalf.

3.2    The consultants are Broadway Malyan Planning, Cresswell Associates
       – ecologists, and Coopers Partnership – landscape architects were
       appointed.

3.3    The appointed consultants reviewed the amended proposals, but at the
       same time noted additional matters which, in their professional
       opinions, it was considered should be brought to the Secretary of
       State’s attention.


                                        4
3.4   As a result of this a Supplementary Statement of Case was submitted
      to the Secretary of State on 5 April 2007 which is set out as Annex 2.

3.5   Members are asked to endorse this position as the Council’s case for
      the Public Inquiry.

4.0   Other Matters

4.1   As part of the amendments it is proposed that construction traffic would
      access and egress the site along Leipzig Road (previously they were
      only to egress the site via this route). However, to meet the
      requirements of the Local Highway Authority it is necessary to widen
      Leipzig Road. This is included within the proposals to be considered as
      part of the New Wakefords Copse Application.

4.2   Clearly the impacts of this are for consideration as part of this latest
      application, and at this time this has not been undertaken. However,
      the Local Highway Authority has indicated that this matter could be
      dealt with by a Grampian condition (ie a condition which requires
      something to happen before any other works commence on site). For
      the purposes of the appeals it is considered that this is a reasonable
      approach.

4.3   If planning permission is not granted, for any reason, then it would be
      for the applicant to come forward with an alternative approach to gain
      access to the site.




                                       5
                                                                   ANNEX 1
                       REASONS FOR REFUSAL

04/02304 - Construction of roundabout and car park and erection of 3 no.
interpretation boards at junction with Leipzig Road and at Greendane
Copse at Roundabout And Car Park, Beacon Hill Road, Church
Crookham, Fleet.

1.    The proposed construction of the roundabout, through its overall
      size, lighting and loss of trees, together with the construction of the
      car park would have an urbanising impact on this section of the
      countryside. As such the proposed development is contrary to
      Policies C1 and C2 of the Hampshire County Structure Plan
      (Review) 1996-2011 and Policy RUR2 of the Hart District Local
      Plan (Replacement) 1996-2006.

2.    The proposed development would be located on a Site of
      Importance to Nature Conservation and would detrimental affect the
      reasons why the site has been designated as it is an area of
      heathland capable of recovery and the effectiveness of alternative
      ecological mitigation measures (the reduction of Bourley Road Car
      Park) are not plainly established and are controversial. As such the
      proposal would be contrary to Policy E1 of RPG9, Policy E11 of the
      Hampshire County Structure Plan (Review) 1996-2011 and Policies
      CON3 and CON4 of the Hart District Local Plan (Replacement)
      1996-2006.

3.    The Local Planning Authority is not satisfied that the proposed
      development would not have an adversely affect on the integrity of
      the Bourley and Long Valley SSSI which forms part of the Thames
      Basin Heaths Special Protection Area as the proposal introduces
      easy access to a signposted car park off of an A class road which
      provides egress to an area contiguous with an area classified as
      SPA and at a point within 900m of the SPA’s boundary. Thereby to
      grant planning permission would be contrary to Regulation 48(5) of
      The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994.

4.    In the absence of suitable legal agreements there is a failure to
      secure in perpetuity funding to fully implement the proposed Visitor
      Management Strategy. As such the proposal is contrary to Policies
      E10 and E12 of the Hampshire County Structure Plan (Review)
      1996-2011 and Policies CON2 and CON4 of the Hart District Local
      Plan (Replacement) 1996-2006.




                                    6
04/02305/FUL - Reduction of Bourley Road car park, parking management
proposals along Bourley Road and the erection of 8 no. interpretation boards
at Car Park, Bourley Road, Church Crookham, Fleet.


1.    The site lies within close proximity to the Bourley and Long Valley SSSI
      which forms part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area.
      Under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 the
      Local Planning Authority is required to make an appropriate
      assessment of the implications for the site in view of that site's
      conservation objectives. The Local Planning Authority is not satisfied
      that the proposals will not adversely affect the integrity of the site as
      the proposals represent an unacceptable loss of amenity space which
      is not justified on ecological grounds as the mitigation effect of reducing
      access to the car park is not plainly established and is controversial.
      In particular the submitted Information for Appropriate Assessment:
       Fails to establish a discernable link between the closing of the car
          park and mitigation of the risk of arson committed by
          unaccompanied children.
       Fails to demonstrate that closing/reduction of this car park would
          alleviate pressure on the SPA both locally and with 10km radius.
       Fails to consider if the closure would be effective in reducing the
          number of people accessing the SPA.
       Admits that it is not possible to calculate a definitive statistical
          conclusion that the proposals will result in a net reduction in the
          pressure to which the SPA is subject.

2.    In the absence of suitable legal agreements there is a failure to secure
      in perpetuity funding to fully implement the proposed Visitor
      Management Strategy. As such the proposal is contrary to Policies E10
      and E12 of the Hampshire County Structure Plan (Review) 1996-2011
      and Policies CON2 and CON4 of the Hart District Local Plan
      (Replacement) 1996-2006.




                                       7
00/00522/OUT - OUTLINE - The development of approximately, but not more
than, 132 Residential Dwellings at Wakefords Copse, Queen Elizabeth
Barracks, Sandy Lane, Church Crookham, Fleet

1.    The site lies within close proximity to the Bourley and Long Valley SSSI
      which forms part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area.
      Under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 the
      Local Planning Authority is required to make an appropriate
      assessment of the implications for the site in view of that site's
      conservation objectives. The Local Planning Authority is not satisfied
      that the proposals will not adversely affect the integrity of the site as no
      mitigation measures are secured.

2.    In the absence of satisfactory secured access arrangements, which
      would not have a detrimental impact on nature conservation and
      countryside interests, the proposed development would have a
      detrimental impact on the local highway network. As such the proposal
      would be contrary to Policies T5 and T6 of the Hampshire County
      Structure Plan (Review) 1996-2011 and Policy T14 of the Hart District
      Local Plan (Replacement) 1996-2006.

3.    In the absence of suitable legal agreements there is a failure to secure
      the necessary, appropriate, commensurate and long-term:
       off-site highway works
       provision for affordable housing
       provision for key-worker housing
       provision for education facilities
       retail provision
       medical provision
       place for worship
       crèche/nursery
       provision of a community centre
       provision and maintenance of formal sports provision (including
          formal playing fields, skate board park, trim trail and BMX trail)
          together with associated changing facilities
       informal sports provision
       equipped children’s play areas
       contributions to public art
       appropriate employment provision
       implementation of a visitor management strategy
       public transport services
       other transport measures under the North East Hampshire
          Transport Strategy, including shop-mobility schemes
       cemetery provision
       CCTV provision
       off-site leisure provision.
      As such the proposal would be contrary to Policies UB2, UB4, S4, T1,
      T5, H8, R2 and IMP1 of the Hampshire County Structure Plan (Review)



                                       8
1996-2011 and Policies RUR21, URB13, T1, T2, T9, T14, T16, T17
and DEV 2 of the Hart District Local Plan (Replacement) 1996-2006.




                              9
00/00930/OUT - Redevelopment of former Military Barracks comprising:
approx. (but not more than) 1000 dwelling houses; a local centre (containing
retail food store (of approx but not more than 500 square metres), additional
A1/A3 units, crèche, Medical Centre and pharmacy); School, community hall,
formal and informal recreational open space and five retained SINCs (Soanes
Copse, Wood Copse, Soanes Field, Wakefords Copse and part of Ewshot
Marsh).

1.    The site lies within close proximity to the Bourley and Long Valley SSSI
      which forms part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area.
      Under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 the
      Local Planning Authority is required to make an appropriate
      assessment of the implications for the site in view of that site's
      conservation objectives. The Local Planning Authority is not satisfied
      that the proposals will not adversely affect the integrity of the site as no
      mitigation measures are secured.

2.    In the absence of satisfactory secured access arrangements, which
      would not have a detrimental impact on nature conservation and
      countryside interests, the proposed development would have a
      detrimental impact on the local highway network. As such the proposal
      would be contrary to Policies T5 and T6 of the Hampshire County
      Structure Plan (Review) 1996-2011 and Policy T14 of the Hart District
      Local Plan (Replacement) 1996-2006.

3.    The proposed development involves development within the
      Fleet/Church Crookham to Ewshot Local Gap, which, in the opinion of
      the Local Planning Authority, would lead to some coalescence between
      these settlements and damage their separate identities. As such the
      proposal would be contrary to Policy G3 of the Hampshire County
      Structure Plan (Review) 1996-2011 and Policies CON21 and DEV2 of
      the Hart District Local Plan (Replacement) 1996-2006.

4.    In the absence of suitable legal agreements there is a failure to secure
      the necessary, appropriate, commensurate and long-term:
       off-site highway works
       provision for affordable housing
       provision for key-worker housing
       provision for education facilities
       retail provision
       medical provision
       place for worship
       crèche/nursery
       provision of a community centre
       provision and maintenance of formal sports provision (including
          formal playing fields, skate board park, trim trail and BMX trail)
          together with associated changing facilities
       informal sports provision
       equipped children’s play areas



                                       10
  contributions to public art
  appropriate employment provision
  implementation of a visitor management strategy
  public transport services
  other transport measures under the North East Hampshire
   Transport Strategy, including shop-mobility schemes
 cemetery provision
 CCTV provision
 off-site leisure provision.
As such the proposal would be contrary to Policies UB2, UB4, S4, T1,
T5, H8, R2 and IMP1 of the Hampshire County Structure Plan (Review)
1996-2011 and Policies RUR21, URB13, T1, T2, T9, T14, T16, T17
and DEV 2 of the Hart District Local Plan (Replacement) 1996-2006.




                             11
                                                                       ANNEX 2

Text of Letter sent to Planning Inspectorate on 5 April 2007 as
Supplemental Statement of Case.

I refer to the above appeals and in particular the appeal by the Secretary of
State for Defence relating to land at Queen Elizabeth II Barracks, Church
Crookham (Council Ref: 00/00930/OUT, PINS Ref:
APP/N1730/A/05/1186862, Inspector Reference: Appeal E).

As you will be aware the Inspector designated to conduct the Inquiry agreed,
at the Second Pre-Inquiry meeting on 26 February 2007, to accept various
amendments to the proposals and there was also the submission of a
response to the Planning Inspectorate’s Regulation 19 request.

There has been some consultation on these amendments, but as the
Regulation 19 request came from the Planning Inspectorate, Hart District
Council has requested that representors make their comments direct to you.
No doubt you will copy their comments, in due course, to all the Rule 6
parties.

The Council, together with the consultants who are advising it, have looked at
the information that has been submitted and feel that it is appropriate to
advise you that the Council will be raising the following matters at the Inquiry.

This letter should consequently be considered as an amendment to its
Statement of Case under Rule 6 of the Inquiry Procedure Rules.

1.     The amendments increase the area of proposed built development in
       the south eastern part of the site further to the south (extending the
       piece of land known as “Area C” in the Local Plan Inspector’s Report).
       This enlargement will have a detrimental impact on the adjacent area
       beyond that which forms part of the Ewshot Marsh Site of Importance
       for Nature Conservation (SINC) by increasing additional human
       pressures which would degrade the ecology of the area and contrary to
       Policy E1 of RPG9, Policy E11 of the Hampshire County Structure Plan
       (Review) 1996-2011 and Policies CON3 and CON6 of the Hart District
       Local Plan (Replacement) 1996-2006.

2.     Reason for Refusal 1 in respect of Appeal E sets out that the Local
       Planning Authority is not satisfied that the mitigation package as
       proposed would be sufficient to offset the potential of the proposed
       development to adversely affect the nearby Bourley and Long Valley
       SSSI which forms part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection
       Area. As part of its case the Council will be looking at the effect of the
       proposed mitigation proposals, and in particular the use of the
       “Southern Area” and the impacts that this might have on the SINCs
       within this area and the harm that may be caused by the increase
       usage of the area and contrary to Policies CON3 of the Hart District
       Local Plan (Replacement) 1996-2006 and E11 of the Hampshire
       County Structure Plan (Review) 1996-2011.


                                       12
3.    Reasons for Refusal 3 and 4 in respect of Appeal E (Queen Elizabeth II
      Barracks) relate to the encroachment of the proposed development into
      the countryside and local gap. As noted in point 1 above, the
      amendments increase and enlarge upon the area being constructed in
      these areas; consequently it should be noted that Officers consider that
      the amendments would make the situation worse rather than
      overcoming these reasons for refusal and contrary Policy G3 of the
      Hampshire County Structure Plan (Review) 1996 - 2011 and Policies
      CON21 and DEV2 of the Hart District Local Plan (Replacement) 1996 -
      2006.

4.    The Council also considers that it is appropriate to raise the points set
      out in the schedule to this letter as regards the Ecological Elements of
      the Environmental Statement.

5.    Reasons for Refusal 5 in Appeal E and 4 in Appeal D indicate that in
      the absence of suitable legal agreements there is a failure to secure
      necessary, appropriate, commensurate and long term employment
      provision contrary to Policy DEV2 of the Hart District Local Plan
      (Replacement) 1996-2006. The amendments formally propose the
      provision of upto 1,000m2 of class B1(a) development and the
      provision on 2.38 hectares of live/ work units, whilst in the original
      submission there was no B1 development and no land area specified
      for the provision of live/work units (the schedule tabled at the Second
      Pre Inquiry meeting by Keith Lindblom QC confirms the latter). Having
      considered carefully the amended proposals for the class B1(a) and
      live/work units, the details submitted thereon and the lack of adequate
      assessment of the effects of amended employment proposals in the
      Environmental Statement, it is the Council's opinion that the amended
      proposals for employment use fall to be considered under the existing
      reasons for refusal set out in the Statement of Case, namely that in the
      absence of suitable legal agreements there is a failure to secure
      necessary, appropriate, commensurate and long term employment
      provision contrary to Policy DEV2 of the Hart District Local Plan
      (Replacement) 1996-2006. For clarity, this means it may be necessary
      for the Council to submit evidence on the extent to which the amended
      proposals fulfil the objectives underlying Policy DEV2 in relation to
      sustainability, the local imbalance between homes and jobs and its
      effect upon travel patterns.

The Council also raises again the question of the Information submitted to
allow an Appropriate Assessment under the Habitats Regulations. The
appellants indicated that they would be submitting this information as long ago
as 14 November 2006. Clarification on this was sought at the Second Pre-
Inquiry meeting on 26 February 2007, but no substantive response was made.
The Council is therefore working on the basis that the appellants will not be
providing any additional information on this point for the Inquiry, as the
Council has made clear in its reasons for refusal the information for
appropriate assessment is inadequate.




                                      13
In all cases there should be no additional documentation from that set out in
the original Statement of Case.

Officers consider that none of the above points is such that it should in any
way delay the consideration of the Inquiry nor extend its length. The above
points flow largely from amendments which have been promoted by the
appellants, who consequently should have prepared matters; and should not
prejudice any of the Rule 6 parties. To make it clear this letter does not
represent an additional request or reasoning as to an adjournment.

Clearly, the Council does not have the benefit of any consultation response
from other parties, such as the Local Highway Authority or the Environment
Agency, in respect of the amendments, and it may be that the amendments
give the Council concerns in this respect. I would hope that the
correspondence would be made available as and when they are received.

I hope the above is clear, but if you have any queries please do not hesitate to
contact me.




                                      14
                                  SCHEDULE

Environmental Statement

The assessment of ecological impacts presented within the Environmental
Statement (ES) contains weaknesses at all stages of the process.

Under Regulation 2(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental
Impact Assessment Regulations) (England and Wales) 1999, an
Environmental Statement is required, as a minimum, to contain all of the
information listed in Part II of Schedule 4 of the Regulations. This includes:
1. A description of the measures envisaged in order to avoid, reduce and, if
    possible, remedy significant adverse effects.
2. The data required to identify and assess the main effects which the
    development is likely to have on the environment.
3. An outline of the main alternatives studied by the applicant or appellant
    and an indication of the main reasons for his choice, taking into account
    the environmental effects.

The ES does not fully achieve these criteria for the reasons outlined below:
1. ‘Scoping’ has not been effectively carried out, as potential impacts on
   dormice, a European protected species and a species of conservation
   concern, have not been addressed within the ES. Similarly, the ES does
   not include surveys or assessment of the value of any of the woodland
   SINC’s within the application area in terms of their potential fungal or
   invertebrate interest (including stag beetles or pearl-bordered fritillaries).
   There is no evidence to suggest that potential impacts on these species
   have been correctly ‘scoped out’ at an earlier stage. Therefore the ES fails
   to meet the second of the criteria listed above.
2. The Issues and Methodology section is simply five letters replying to the
   scoping report produced in 2000.
3. Where a potential impact has been identified and surveys undertaken to
   inform the assessment, in several cases the surveys have not been
   adequate for this purpose, either through the incorrect implementation of
   the appropriate methodology, or the extent of the surveys being insufficient
   to allow an assessment of the full potential impact. Therefore the ES fails
   to meet the second of the criteria listed above.
4. The assessment of impacts presented in the ES is based, to some extent,
   on inadequate survey information for the reasons outlined above. This
   has resulted in the ES failing to consider all of the potential ecological
   impacts of the proposals. In addition, some of those impacts which have
   been identified have not been properly assessed, and there may therefore
   be additional significant effects. Therefore mitigation measures which have
   not been identified within the ES may be required. Therefore the ES fails
   to meet the first of the criteria listed above.
5. The ES acknowledges the need to consider alternatives to the
   development and alternative layouts for the development but does not
   consider possible alternatives to the mitigation proposed. In addition,
   having failed to identify the potential impact of the proposals on dormice,



                                       15
   the ES does not consider alternative solutions to avoid impacts on this
   species. Therefore the ES fails to meet the third of the criteria listed above.

The applicant has therefore failed to provide the necessary information to
allow the LPA to be confident that all potentially significant ecological effects
have been identified, properly assessed and adequately mitigated.

Under PPS9, the applicant also needs to satisfy the LPA that there are no
alternative sites available. One of the six key principles of PPS9 states that:
‘The aim of planning decisions should be to prevent harm to biodiversity and
geological conservation interests. Where granting planning permission would
result in significant harm to those interests, local planning authorities will need
to be satisfied that the development cannot reasonably be located on any
alternative sites that would result in less or no harm.’

The weaknesses in the ES outlined above are described in more detail below:

1. Scoping

   It has not been possible to obtain a copy of the scoping report for the
   proposed development, although it is clear from correspondence relating
   to the contract that one was produced. However, based on the information
   presented in the ES, it is clear that this process was not properly
   undertaken. In particular, the ES has failed to consider the impact of the
   proposed development on dormice, a species protected under the Wildlife
   and Countryside Act 1981 and the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.)
   Regulations 1994. The dormouse is listed as a ‘Priority Species’ for
   conservation in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), and a Species
   Action Plan for dormice has been prepared for the Hampshire BAP. The
   application area contains habitats suitable for dormice, including woodland
   and hedgerows with good structural diversity and connectivity, and there
   are existing records of dormice in woodlands located within 10km of the
   site. However, no surveys for dormice have been undertaken.

   The proposed development would affect dormice in several ways if they
   were found to be present. Firstly, any loss of trees and scrub would
   represent the removal of habitat suitable for use by dormice (and would
   need to be undertaken under licence to DEFRA if dormice are present).
   Secondly, the woodlands within the application site and the southern area
   would suffer increased visitor pressure and would require management,
   which may affect dormice. Thirdly, the introduction of increased numbers
   of domestic cats to the area and the implications that this can have on
   small mammal populations has been acknowledged in the ES in a
   discussion of the potential impacts on birds. Clearly, the increased
   numbers of cats in close proximity to woodlands may have an impact on
   dormice if they are present.

   Should dormice be present within the woodlands within and adjacent to
   the application site, the proposed development could have a significant
   adverse effect on this species. It should therefore have been considered


                                        16
  within the ES. Since the scoping exercise undertaken was inadequate, the
  ES does not properly address all potentially significant effects and cannot
  be considered a competent assessment of the impacts of the proposals.

2. Survey

  There is insufficient survey information to allow an adequate assessment
  of the nature conservation value of the woodland areas that would be
  directly or indirectly affected. The proposals would affect four Sites of
  Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) which have been designated
  on the basis that they support ancient semi-natural woodland; a further two
  SINCs would be affected which include a significant element of ancient
  semi-natural woodland. Ancient woodlands are important habitats for a
  range of species and groups of conservation concern, including dormice,
  fungi and invertebrates. In particular, stag beetles occur in woodland
  areas and are a national priority for conservation in the UKBAP;
  Hampshire has been identified as a stronghold for the species, and stag
  beetles have been recorded within 5km of the site boundaries.

  The potential impact on the woodlands was identified in the ES, and
  mitigated through the recreational strategy, which seeks to divert visitors
  away from the more ecologically sensitive parts of the woodlands.
  However, in the absence of targeted surveys to identify any important
  fungal or invertebrate assemblages, in addition to the lack of dormouse
  surveys, it is not possible to determine which are the more ‘ecologically
  sensitive’ areas.      Furthermore, without such surveys it cannot be
  confirmed that there are sufficiently large areas of woodland, which are not
  ecologically sensitive, to accommodate the increased visitor pressure
  without significant effects.

  The southern area supports habitats of potential value to a range of bird
  species, including those species for which the SPA was designated. Bird
  surveys were undertaken to inform the ES and Appropriate Assessment,
  although no surveys were undertaken within the southern area. This
  information would be important in confirming that the visitor management
  strategy would direct recreation pressure into areas of low ecological
  value, and in identifying the less ecologically sensitive areas to receive the
  greatest level of visitor pressure.

  The surveys for nightjar, woodlark and Dartford warbler focused on the
  SPA. However, the application site and southern area support habitats
  suitable for use by these species. In particular, nightjars can forage in
  areas up to 8km from their breeding grounds (Alexander and Cresswell,
  1990), and the woodlands within the application area may provide an
  important foraging resource for this species. No nocturnal bird surveys
  have been undertaken within the application site, and therefore this
  potential impact has not been addressed.

  A desk study was undertaken as part of the ecological assessment
  presented in the ES, although it is unclear which potential sources of


                                     17
   information were reviewed or requested.             Clearly the Hampshire
   Biodiversity Information Centre was contacted for information relating to
   SINCs, and the Hampshire Ornithological Society in relation to bird
   records. However, the HBIC also hold records of protected species or
   species of conservation concern, as do numerous other local groups or
   individuals. It is not clear whether any such information was requested.

   The badger surveys recorded 12 (possible) ‘outlying’ badger setts within
   the QEII Barracks site. All of these setts were considered to be of minor
   importance to the resident social group of badgers, as animals using them
   were considered to be occupying a ‘main’ sett within an overgrown garden
   on Aldershot Road, immediately adjacent to the site. However, this ‘main’
   sett was not examined during the surveys, and no studies were
   undertaken to confirm that the badgers utilising the site all belonged to the
   same social group. A single artificial sett was provided as compensation
   for the loss of all setts on the site, as they were considered likely to belong
   to a single social group of badgers and be of relatively low importance.
   However, in the absence of detailed survey information it is not possible to
   confirm that this is the case; the setts on the site may belong to more than
   one social group and some may be of particular importance. Therefore
   the construction of a single artificial sett may therefore be insufficient to
   adequately mitigate the impact on badgers.

3. Impact Assessment and Mitigation

   This section of the ES states that the assessment has been carried out in
   accordance with the new IEEM guidelines on ecological impact
   assessment, and describes how the predicted impacts should be
   characterised in terms of extent, magnitude, duration and reversibility.
   There is, however, no evidence that this method (widely accepted as
   current best practice) has been applied. There are no summary impact
   tables, as recommended in the guidelines, setting out these details for
   each impact, as well as descriptions of the nature of the impact and the
   measures proposed to mitigate them. This is the ‘transparent approach’
   that is referred to in the assessment methodology section, but it has not
   been undertaken in this assessment.

   Furthermore, the appellants apply arbitrary and undefined levels of
   significance to each impact, which is an approach advised against in the
   IEEM guidance. They also seem to have misunderstood impact
   characterisation. For example, they state that prior to mitigation, impacts
   on the SPA are “at the international level and are of moderate
   significance”. It is not the impact that is at the international level but
   instead the valued ecological receptor. The correct (sensu IEEM) way to
   state this would be to say that prior to mitigation there would be “a
   significant effect on a receptor of international value”. This would trigger a
   full Appropriate Assessment.

   In addition, where inadequate surveys have been undertaken, or particular
   species have not been surveyed for, as discussed under ‘Scoping’ and


                                       18
   ‘Survey’ above, it is clearly likely that the assessment of impacts is
   incorrect and appropriate mitigation will not have been provided. In the
   absence of the survey information required, as highlighted above, it is not
   possible to draw specific conclusions on whether the ES has failed to
   identify and mitigate significant impacts.

   The impact of cat predation on birds has been considered within the ES,
   but ruled out on the basis that cats will generally predate mammals rather
   than birds. However, few studies have been undertaken which could
   inform an assessment of the impact of increased cat numbers due to
   development and the impact that this may have on adjacent bird
   populations. Studies undertaken by the RSPB (‘Cat collar experiment’,
   2004) and the Mammal Society (‘Look what the cat brought in’, 2001)
   analysed prey brought home by domestic cats. Both of these studies, and
   others including Churcher & Lawton (1986) and Carss (1995), concluded
   that a higher proportion of prey brought back to owners was made up of
   mammals. The Mammal Society concludes that domestic cats are not
   having a detrimental impact on bird populations countrywide. However,
   cats could have an impact on species of restricted distribution. The RSPB
   concluded that 'cat predation can be a problem where housing is next to
   scarce habitats such as heathland, and could potentially be most
   damaging to species with a restricted range, or species dependant on
   fragmented habitat, such as Dartford warbler'.

   Cats will prey on the most abundant and easiest prey to catch. If ground
   nesting birds are within easy reach (within the home ranges of the new
   cats within the new development) it is possible that the fragmented
   populations of nightjar and woodlark (both ground nesting birds) could be
   detrimentally affected by the increase in cat numbers. It is also possible
   that if nightjar and woodlark were using the southern area, an area which
   would be within the home range of the majority of the 'new' cats within the
   development, a large number of cats could have a detrimental impact on
   these species.

   Given that the ES has not considered the possible presence of dormice
   within the woodlands immediately adjacent to the development (see
   ‘Scoping’ above), it has also failed to consider the potential impact of cat
   predation on this species.

   The ES has also failed to adequately consider impacts on birds in relation
   to the SPA.

4. Consideration of Alternatives

   The ES acknowledges the need to consider alternatives to the
   development and alternative layouts for the development. However, it
   does not consider possible alternatives to the mitigation proposed. In
   particular, there is no consideration of an alternative to the visitor
   management strategy, put forward as one of the appropriate means of
   mitigating the impact of increased recreational pressure on the SPA.


                                      19
Measures to increase the amount and quality of habitat available for the
protected species and species of conservation concern using the
application site and surrounding areas, including the SPA, may be more
effective in mitigating the negative impacts of increased visitor pressure
than attempting to displace visitors to ‘less sensitive’ areas. This issue is
discussed further under ‘Appropriate Assessment’ below, but relates
equally to both documents.

Should dormice be found to be present within areas of woodland which
would be lost for the creation of access to the site from Beacon Hill Road,
the works would need to proceed under licence to DEFRA. In order for
DEFRA to grant such a licence, the developer would need to demonstrate
that there was no feasible alternative. Should there be feasible alternative
options, a DEFRA licence may not be granted, and therefore the work
could not take place. The developer should either have (a) confirmed the
absence of dormice through appropriate survey techniques, or (b) adopted
a precautionary approach which minimised the potential impact on this
species should it be present, allowed for appropriate mitigation in a worst-
case-scenario, and considered feasible alternative solutions.




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