A range of environmental assessments and baseline surveys were carried out for the environmental planning input for the redevelopment of the 110ha former RAF Staff college site for George Wimpey and English Partnerships. The site is close to the town centre and represents a major regeneration opportunity for a residential led sustainable ‘village’ with over 750 new homes.
Major consultations, public workshops and visits to the site were undertaken and provided key stakeholders with details of the proposals for the site, and a forum for their views to be acknowledged.
Detailed bat surveys identified roosts within the buildings, requiring new designs of replacement roosts within the new buildings and within the retained wooded areas of the site. Further ecological surveys were carried out for great crested newts, badgers, birds and reptiles.
The findings of these surveys have been used to inform how to integrate green corridors and wildlife links across the site and into the wider area. Advice and best practice guidance was given on how to avoid impacts to these sensitive areas during the construction and when the development is built.
Further environmental advice and surveys to identify the archaeological value of the site was provided following consultation with the County Archaeologist. These works had to be carried out in conjunction with intrusive contamination site investigation works.
The overall coordination and application of best practice ensured that the ecological value of the site was protected, whilst allowing the necessary development to proceed to programme and budget.