Skimmingdish Lane, Bicester

Ecology Solutions was instructed to undertake a series of ecological surveys and to prepare an Ecological Assessment to support a planning application for a care home development. This was to be a joint application between Greenlight Developments and LNT Care Developments. The key matter to be addressed was the fact that the site was a proposed District Level Wildlife Site, bringing the need to demonstrate a net gain for biodiversity in sharper focus. Mitigation provisions needed to balance the maintenance / enhancement of the retained habitat matrix and a requirement to deliver habitat for Common Lizard, with the delivery of flood alleviation and maintaining public access along a strategic route promoted by the local authority. The strategic public access route formed part of a proposed linear park, to be secured through a specific, adopted planning policy.

Planning permission was refused and whilst ecology matters did not form part of any reason for refusal, with Ecology Solutions addressing all concerns raised by the authority during the determination period, third parties did not remove their objections. The applicants appealed the decision and Karl Goodbun assisted with the production of the Statement of Case and then presented oral evidence at the Appeal Hearing, addressing third party written and oral evidence. The appeal was upheld by the planning Inspector who cited ecological net gain as a material consideration in determining that, despite his finding that the proposals were contrary to one development plan policy, the benefits of the scheme outweighed any harm. Ecology Solutions continues to support LNT Care Developments through the development process and in the discharge of relevant planning conditions.

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