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Great Covert

Land off Castle Lane - North Baddesley - Hampshire

Taylor Wimpey is preparing proposals for woodland and wildlife enhancements on land at Great Covert, North Baddesley, Hampshire.

  • Overview

    Land off Castle Lane

    We have submitted plans to Test Valley Borough Council (Planning Reference P14/02620/OUTS) for the ancient woodland at Great Covert, including improved public access, which will be delivered alongside the provision of around 300 new homes, creating an opportunity for a sustainable extension to Chandler’s Ford.

    The new homes will be built in the eastern section of the site. New public access will be provided into the woodland in the west, opening up the woods for the benefit of the local community.

    The woodland will be available for public recreation, thereby reducing pressure on protected sites such as the New Forest, and the housebuilder is in discussions with Natural England to determine the best way to deliver these community benefits.

    A public consultation was held in June 2014 at North Baddesley Sports Pavilion, giving local people the chance to help shape our proposed scheme by providing their feedback. You can view our exhibition boards by clicking here.

  • About the site

    The development site

    Board 2 - North Baddesley opportunities and constraints 

    The constraints and opportunities plan for the site. Click on the image to enlarge.

    It is a privately owned greenfield site, with areas of ancient woodland which will be retained and enhanced as part of our scheme.

    The site is bordered by Castle Lane to the south, and by existing residential properties off Knightwood Road, Chandler’s Ford, to the east. The Sandy Lane recreation ground, North Baddesley, lies to the west, while farmland is located to the north.

    The application site (outlined on the map above) covers an area of approximately 80 hectares, however the vast majority of the site will be left undeveloped. The undeveloped area will:

    • Secure the long-term physical and visual separation of North Baddesley and Chandler’s Ford (the local gap)
    • Be available for public access, providing local walks
    • Be positively managed to improve the woodland and biodiversity

    Only around 12 hectares of the site will be set aside for residential development, to help meet local development needs, and associated open space.

    There is a housing supply shortage within the borough and this site represents an opportunity to address this shortfall more quickly and effectively than relying on the other sites being considered for residential development by the Borough Council through its emerging Revised Local Plan.

    Flood risk and drainage

    The vast majority of the proposed development site is located in Flood Zone 1, which means it is at low risk of flooding from rivers.

    Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) will be used and will include features such as rainwater harvesting, soakaways, filter drains, swales and attenuation basins. These will ensure that surface water run-off from the development will be no greater than current greenfield (undeveloped land) rates and will not increase the risk of flooding on site or elsewhere.


    We have completed a range of ecological surveys, including a habitat survey and specific surveys for badgers, bats, dormouse, birds, reptiles and amphibians. These surveys have found that the development area is dominated by recently clear-felled plantation, supporting habitats of low ecological value.

    This area does, however, support some wildlife, including small numbers of reptiles, birds and foraging bats. As such, measures will be implemented to protect these species and enhance habitat opportunities for a range of wildlife including:

    • Relocation of reptiles from the development area to newly created woodland rides and glades
    • Clear-felling of selected conifer compartments to provide replacement nightjar habitat
    • Provision of bird and bat boxes to provide new roosting and nesting habitat
    • Creation of waterbodies to provide new breeding habitat for amphibians
    • Planting of native tree and shrub species within the residential development forming food sources for birds and insects

    Site access

    Vehicle access to the development is proposed from Castle Lane using a priority T-junction access with a right turn lane as shown in the drawing above. The junction is designed in line with design guidance in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges and has been subject to an independent road safety audit.

    The site will connect to the existing shared use pedestrian/cycle route on Castle Lane at the new access junction. A further pedestrian/cycle/emergency vehicle access is proposed from Castle Lane to the east of the new junction and closer to the existing residential area. Pedestrian connections to the existing public footpath that follows the eastern site boundary will be provided where feasible.


    The site is located within walking and cycling distance of the local facilities in Valley Park, which includes local shops, a day nursery, primary school, medical and dental practices and a pharmacy.

    Buses are available from Castle Lane and Templars Way and a new bus stop is proposed on Castle Lane at the site access to serve the development. The bus stops are served by a number of regular bus routes, providing connections to locations in Chandler’s Ford, Eastleigh, Southampton and Winchester.

    Chandler’s Ford railway station is located approximately 1.5 miles to the north-east of the site and is served by hourly rail services to Salisbury, Romsey and Southampton (Central and Parkway).

    This site is therefore a sustainable location for new homes.

    Traffic impact

    We have used the industry standard TRICS database to estimate vehicle movements to and from the proposed development.

    A development of around 300 houses is expected to generate some 180-190 two-way vehicle trips during the peak hours of 8am to 9am, and again between 5pm and 6pm on weekdays. This is equivalent to around only three additional vehicles per minute on the highway network in the peak hours.

    A Transport Assessment has been prepared to evaluate the impact of the development on the local transport network and has been submitted as part of the outline planning application, along with details of highway mitigation schemes.

    Community contributions

    Should our planning application be approved, we will expect to make significant financial contributions towards improving local infrastructure and community facilities. Contributions will be determined by Test Valley Borough Council in accordance with local requirements, but are likely to include funding for schools, health, public transport and recreation.

  • What's proposed

    Our proposals

    Ancient woodland enhancements

    Board 3 - North Baddesley ecology plan

    Our proposals for woodland improvements. Click on the image to enlarge.

    There are three over-arching elements to the proposals:

    • Residential development
    • Woodland restoration and management
    • Recreational public access to what is now private land

    The proposed residential development envelope has been identified and defined by the project’s arboricultural and ecological advisors following a detailed assessment of the area. It is mainly located within areas that have recently been clear-felled of conifer plantation.

    A small additional area of conifer plantation would also be felled for development; the trees concerned are ready for harvesting anyway.

    The condition of the majority of the woodland is poor. Much of it comprises conifer plantation that it is not economical to harvest except in a high-impact way: this would be inappropriate for an ancient woodland site. The retention of conifer
    plantation past its ‘fell-by date’, especially where this has been under-thinned, increases the risk of widespread windthrow. This problem is already happening in several woodland compartments.

    Without a significant investment in woodland management, the quality and biodiversity of the woodland will decline substantially in the short to medium term.

    Funded by the new housing, the second element of the proposals is the implementation of a restoration and long-term management plan, with the objective of a phased conversion of the conifer plantations back to broadleaved woodland over 50 years. This management plan is being drawn up in close consultation with the Forestry Commission, and will conform to its best practice model for the restoration of replanted ancient woodland sites.

    The proposals would deliver managed public access into the woodland, so as to address the increasing under-provision of green space in the locality. This would take the pressure off nearby sites of higher sensitivity, for example Emer Bog and (further afield) the New Forest, whilst also delivering a high quality out-of-doors experience for the local community.

    New homes

    Our proposed development includes a mixture of house sizes which will provide a balanced extension to the local community. The proposed new homes will be traditional in design and in keeping with local building styles and materials.

    Affordable housing

    Around 40% of the new homes in our proposed development will be provided as affordable housing in line with local planning policy. The affordable housing provision is likely to include social rent and shared ownership, provided through a local housing association.

    Parking provision 

    Car parking provision for the proposed homes will be in line with the adopted local parking standards, as summarised below:

    • 1 bedroom - 1 space per dwelling
    • 2 or 3 bedrooms - 2 spaces per dwelling
    • 4 or more bedrooms - 3 spaces per dwelling
    • Visitor parking - At least one additional space per 5 dwellings

    Street layout

    The internal layout of the site has been developed with reference to the design principles set out in the Department for Transport’s guidance document, ‘Manual for Streets’, which seeks to put the needs of pedestrians and cyclists at the forefront of the design. At this stage, the internal road layout is indicative and details will be submitted to the local highway authority for approval at a later stage.

    Landscaping and open space

    The proposed development will feature areas of public open space within the residential development area, while existing ponds between the northern and southern neighbourhoods will be retained as a wildlife feature for the benefit of the new residents.

    The ancient woodland to the west of the new homes will be retained and enhanced, with public access to the woods for the benefit of the local community, including woodland paths and trails. This will make an important contribution to providing local recreation space for the community and reduce visitor pressure on internationally protected areas like the New Forest and Emer Bog.

    A woodland corridor will also screen the new homes from existing residential properties to the east, and along Castle Lane to respect the local gap.

    Without the proposed positive management of the woodland, our surveys have shown that this important natural resource will continue to decline in quality and biodiversity.

  • Community

    Local contributions

    Our proposed scheme will deliver significant community benefits by opening up this ancient woodland for the recreational use of local residents.

    Should our planning application be approved, we will also make a number of local contributions for the benefit of the local community as part of our development. Details of these contributions will be agreed with the relevant local authorities at a later stage.

  • Updates

    Development timeline

    June 2014 - Public consultation held

    November 2014 - Planning application submitted

    Late 2015 - Expected determination for outline planning application

    Early 2017 - Projected start of work on site (subject to planning approval)