19/00543/FUL Albion Yard – Objection to proposal for development
Any development on this site must be sympathetic to the special nature of the environment, related as it is to sites of special scientific interest (SSSI).
The River Whitewater, a ‘Main River’, is a chalk stream, which is rare and important at international level. The River Whitewater flows north of the proposed development site in a north easterly direction. An unnamed tributary of the River Whitewater flows in an easterly direction through the land to the west of the site. It turns to follow a northerly route approximately 70m north west of the site. It discharges into the River Whitewater near Mill Corner. The River Whitewater is a Site of Interest to Nature Conservation (SINC) throughout its length and includes stretches of SSSI. The Basingstoke Canal, which is also a SSSI, is located along the southern boundary of the site.
According to the findings of the Environment Agency, the River is failing to meet ‘Good Ecological Status’ as required under the Water Framework Directive.
The Flood Risk Assessment provided for this proposed development is out of date, despite the propensity of the site for flooding. Flood risk resulting from the loss of land to absorb and channel waters from the River Whitewater flood plain requires very careful and partial use of the site for development, as indicated in the Neighbourhood Plan. In addition, surface run-off from building infrastructure on this site would flow into the River Whitewater, likely to affect further the ecological status of the River.
The principle of biodiversity enhancement in the adjacent field is welcome. However detailed input from a qualified ecologist is required to turn the proposed plan into practice that will deliver a net gain for biodiversity. This should be secured through a full Landscape and Ecological Management plan for the future, which includes a landscape buffer as indicated in the Odiham and North Warnborough Neighbourhood Plan.
The plans are not aligned with the Odiham and North Warnborough Neighbourhood Plan, which protects the setting of neighbouring listed properties by the provision of a significant open space at the North end of the field.
In summary, the proposed development affects the landscape characteristics of the North Warnborough Conservation area. The development as proposed does not adhere to the Odiham and North Warnborough Neighbourhood plan, specifically policies 2 iv, 7 and 12.
For and on behalf of the
Whitewater Valley Preservation Society