Fears for the future of the animals if planned development continues on virgin land
A resident of Retford has expressed concern about a development project destroying local wildlife habitats.
The comprehensive building permit had previously been rejected on Longholme Road by the Bassetlaw District Council planning committee for reasons of road safety and flood risk.
However, this decision was appealed by Bellway Homes and permission was subsequently granted by the planning inspection.
Now a reserved questions request has been submitted for approval.
This app asks for the green light for certain elements that were reserved from the original plan, including layout, drainage strategy and construction scale, among other aspects.
Paul Bell, 53, lives on Longholme Road in Retford and says a lack of thought has been given to animals that might live in the current green fields.
He told Lincolnshire Live: “Obviously I think it’s not a good place to have development and there isn’t really very good access either.
“But despite everything, I found another newt in my garden and it was only after digging that I discovered that it was a crested newt and that some of my neighbors had spotted them ever since. 2016.
“It is clear that there is habitat here for them.
“The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust came out and did an investigation, but within hours they just can’t find this stuff because they’re pretty elusive.
“All I’m asking is that a full investigation take place as to whether this is their habitat, which I’m sure is because they’re there.”
“The wildlife trust told us the newts weren’t there and we understood they were, but obviously not.
“I’m trying to raise awareness about this because no one seems to care about this species which seems to be in decline, something needs to be done. Whether it stops the building or not, they need to be protected.”
The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust told Lincolnshire Live it has been aware of the development of the Longholme Road since 2018.
Mark Speck, senior conservation officer for the trust, said: ‘As we work to ensure the restoration of nature, the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is the only environmental charity that continues to regularly monitor local planning issues in urban and rural areas.
“We informed the planning authority of the possible presence of crested newts, a protected species, in 2018, because they have a legal obligation to take into account impacts on wildlife when deciding on applications.
“The species is covered by the EU Directive on Natural Habitats and the Law on Wildlife and Landscape, but their presence does not necessarily prevent development.
“So, in addition to recommending detailed investigations, we also lobbied for safeguard and mitigation measures, including new ponds, should permission be granted.
“Now they’ve granted permission, planners are responsible for making sure any special conditions are met, and landowners and developers need to make sure that no great newt is injured or killed or would face legal action.
A Bellway Homes spokesperson added: “As part of the overall development planning request, ecological issues relating to the site have been fully taken into account.
“As a result, a planning condition was imposed on the project requiring the submission of a biodiversity management plan before the start of work on the site.
“The submitted application complies with the requirements of the condition and a biodiversity management plan will be agreed with the council in due course.
“We note that there are no ponds that would provide suitable habitat for crested newts on the site at this time, and the proposed development will comply with all relevant laws associated with crested newts, alongside other protected species.
“As a responsible developer, Bellway employed its own environmentalist to undertake updated survey work and this informed our project proposals.”
Meanwhile, John Krawczyk, Planning Development Manager at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “This application included an extensive Phase 1 habitat study, which addresses the potential of the site for crested newts and defines the measures that the developer must respect during the site and the construction phase.
“The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has confirmed that it is happy with this approach and Natural England has no further objections to the development on ecological grounds.
“The inspector imposed conditions to ensure that the site is developed in accordance with the recommendations set out in the habitat study and that appropriate mitigation measures are provided.
“In addition, it is likely that the developer may need to apply to Natural England for a mitigation license if any of the proposed work impacts possible crested newts.”