Your Councillors


Item 1, Page 25

Item 15 Page 34

 

16/503641

Land to the East of Hermitage Lane, Maidstone, Kent.

 

Representations

 

Statutory  - KCC Ecology

 

“The following documents have been submitted:

• Updated phasing Plans (1-7)

• Site Wide LEMP

• Phase 1 detailed LEMP

 

We have cross referenced the updated phasing plans and the plans within the Phase 1 LEMP and we are satisfied that the planting within the phasing plans reflect what is within the

LEMP.

 

Landscape and Ecological Management Plan

We are satisfied that the site wide LEMP provides a good overview of the management

proposals for the whole site. The site wide LEMP has confirmed that the management of the

woodland within the site (including the area of Ancient Woodland) will commence as part of

Phase 2.

 

This will ensure that the woodland will be actively managed for the majority of the

construction period. We are pleased that these changes have been made to the site wide

LEMP as we had previously raised concerns that management of the woodland would not be

implemented until phase 4. The active management of the woodland is part of the mitigation

required to reduce the impact from an increase in recreational pressure and there is a need to ensure that it is implemented as soon after the occupation of the development site as possible.

 

We would expect the phase 2 detailed LEMP to demonstrate that the active management of

the woodland will start at the same time as the phase 2 construction.

The phase 1 LEMP has been updated to address a number of concerns we previously raised

.

The following changes have been made:

•           A time table has been produced to clearly detail the time of year works need to be

implemented within each component. This addresses our concerns that some

management in certain components may be missed when the site managers are

implementing the management.

•           Additional information has been provided detailing what habitats/compartments are

within the woodland buffer and which and which months the management needs to be implemented. This addresses our concern that the woodland buffer management may not get implemented properly as it was not clear in the original document.

•           A five year monitoring timetable has been produced. As previously detailed the results of the monitoring must inform subsequent updates of the detailed management plans (Phases 2-4) to ensure they are based on up to date information and the current site conditions.

 

Please note that with the subsequent reserve matter applications (Phases 2-4) we would

expect the submitted detailed LEMPS to include all phases which are currently under

construction / occupied.

 

Bats and Reptiles

The LEMP has included a reptile mitigation strategy and an updated bat emergence survey.

We have reviewed the bat survey and we are satisfied with the conclusions that the buildings

have low potential for roosting bats to be present. The precautionary mitigation detailed

within the submitted report must be implemented during the demolition of the building.

 

The reptile mitigation strategy has detailed vegetation adjacent to Howard Drive needs to be

cleared using a precautionary mitigation strategy when creating the access from Howard

Drive. We are satisfied with the methodology proposed but highlight that it can only be

carried out when reptiles are active (April and September). The timings of the reptile

mitigation must be incorporated in to the applicant’s construction timetable to ensure that the

works are going to be carried out at the most appropriate time of year.

 

Reptiles have been recorded along the hedgerow adjacent to Hermitage Lane – we understand that the access in to the field has already been created and there will be no loss of existing habitat – as detailed within the submitted report the proposed exclusion fencing must be erected prior to works commencing prior to restrict reptiles accessing the construction area during the works. If any vegetation is to be removed we advise that a precautionary approach as detailed for the Howard Drive access must be implemented.

 

Officer comment

 

As previously stated whilst both the outline planning permission and reserved matter Phase 1 application does NOT require approval of the LEMP provisions, this is required to be approved prior to the commencement of development.  KCC Ecology are now satisfied with both the site wide LEMP provisions and Phase 1 LEMP.  The LEMP provisions will need to be approved under the terms of the outline S106 agreement, but I can now confirm that the details are acceptable.

 

Additional Neighbour comments

 

Two further neighbour representations objecting to the application have been received raising the following matters:

 

·         Better use of the site would be for a preserved Heritage status in an Ancient Woodland and landscape setting with potential to become a nature reserve

·         Bungalows and more affordable homes on the site would be better than unaffordable new properties

·         Three storey properties unacceptable

·          Housing allocation should be cut to below 200

·         Site should contain a small retirement village

·         A new bund should be constructed to prevent flooding 503

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

As delegated powers are no longer required for the Head of Planning and Development, the recommendation should read:

Grant planning permission subject to the conditions listed in the urgent update report and those in the main report.