Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Change these plans to stop harm to wildlife

I understand why George Ferguson wants to emphasise what he sees as the upside of the 'cycle houses' development planned on/near the Bristol to Bath Railway Path (see report on plans in today's local paper). He is of course not an independent, dispassionate voice in relation to it though as he is Chairman of the architects of the plans (Acanthus Ferguson Mann)! He has apparently been intimately involved in discussions with the council about land purchase according to local blogs and has talked up how innovative the ideas behind the plans are! He would emphasise the positive wouldn't he.

A balanced, dispassionate, analytical approach would also consider the downside of the plans, in particular the impacts on wildlife, including protected species such as badgers and slow worms due to the loss of 150 metres of mature hedgerow on part of the site under current designs. Attempting to compensate for habitat loss, as is proposed, is highly problematic and inadequate. Will the council, developers and architects respond to significant public concerns and react to ensure that the plans are modified so that hedgerow and wildlife impacts are removed? This would also contribute significantly to retaining some of the user amenity value of the site due to its current green and pleasant character. I thought Bristol City Council had a Parks and Green Spaces Strategy to safeguard high quality greenery though its obviously not being applied to this area!!

I'll try to contact George direct about this and copy in someone at the council and at the developers. I will be objecting to the current plans on the basis outlined here and will also complain to the council that they have not carried out an environmental impact assessment and not followed the procedure on green spaces in their own strategy.