Mille Park Farm is a site where we recently undertook a phase 1 habitat survey. The client was looking to construct an extra three timber lodges as part of a small holiday complex, and planners had requested a phase 1 survey. The survey is intended to map habitat types, highlight any issues and indicate solutions as necessary. By law all new planning applications now have to show either no effect or an improvement in biodiversity will result from the planned work.
Our site visit and survey revealed a lovely site, where the owner had for many years encouraged wildlife, including a wide range of native tree and shrub planting and also the construction of two quite large ponds, which have become a haven for wildlife. As well as a site survey, phase 1 reports also have to consider historical data and any designations that may be relevant to the ecology.
Our survey highlighted the need to protect the existing aquatic habitats, and was able to provide an outline method for achieving this. We also included proposals for some additional tree planting, to link together existing areas of woodland, and improve the stream valley as a wildlife corridor. This was something that the client was likely to do, and fitted in with previous landscaping on the site. Elsewhere a small amount of clearance of overgrown shrub beds was brought forward on our advice, to avoid disturbance to nesting birds.
Early advice is often essential to help achieve a smooth application and meet current legal requirements, and can often save later cost and delays. We often work with Rolfe Planning Partnership, a specialised local planning consultancy to achieve this outcome.