The proposed development site is a mix of previously developed land and paddock and covers an area of 7.25 acres. It is located to the north of Moor Lane, south of Station Close, and west of an existing residential area.
The land has been allocated for residential/commercial development in North Somerset Council's Local Plan and is also identified as a suitable location in the newly-adopted Backwell Neighbourhood Plan, which has recently been approved following a local referendum. Half of the land is owned by Taylor Wimpey, while the other half is owned by North Somerset Council.
Although part of the site is allocated for commercial development, planning permission has recently been granted for a separate commercial scheme at Coles Quarry. We consider that this development will address the need for employment land in Backwell and we are therefore seeking to bring forward the Moor Lane site as an entirely residential development.
Our application for 65 dwellings was given resolution to grant (subject to Section 106) at planning committee in June 2016.
The site is dominated by rough grassland with dense and scattered scrub, and tall vegetation of insignificant ecological value. Higher-value habitats are present in the form of semi-improved grassland, semi-mature woodlands and species-poor hedgerows. Features with the highest ecological value are semi-mature to mature trees.
A range of surveys have been carried out at the site in 2012 and 2014, which identified a small population of grass snake, slow worm and common lizard within grassland, while badger setts were found to the west of the site.
Scarce species of invertebrates were also found within some of the grassland and woodland, and common breeding birds were recorded as using the site. A small population of great crested newt were recorded off site to the north (230m away), with the site offering some suitable terrestrial habitat.
As part of the masterplan, we will target development on the areas of lowest ecological value and incorporate green areas to, where possible, retain those features of highest ecological value together with wildlife habitats and movement corridors.
The badger setts will be relocated and protected within areas of retained woodland and informal public open space, and we will also provide suitable habitats and features for reptiles, great crested newt and invertebrates.
Existing trees will be largely retained and enhanced as part of the scheme and we will provide bat/bird boxes to offer increased roosting and nesting opportunities. Areas of public open space – including a balancing pond – will be designed to deliver a diverse range of benefits for both people and wildlife.
The ecological characteristics of the site which we are considering as part of our scheme design.
The proposed scheme will be accessed off Moor Lane via The Briars, which will potentially be realigned into the site. Any potential impact of the development proposals on the local area – in particular on The Briars and Moor Lane – has been carefully considered throughout the design process and through discussions with North Somerset Council (NSC).
The masterplan accommodates sufficient parking for residents of the site, and complies with NSC’s car parking standards for new residential developments. Many of the houses will have private driveways with garages, to help ensure that all parking for new residents is contained within the development and does not overspill into The Briars or Moor Lane.
The site is in a sustainable location with good connections into the existing footway network, providing accessibility to the nearby local services/facilities, bus and rail services.
The impact on the wider highway network will be assessed as part of our planning application. Particular consideration will be given to improving safety and access to and from the junction of Moor Lane with Station Road.
Surveys have been undertaken to establish the noise conditions across the site off Moor Lane. The main source of environmental noise is train movements from the Nailsea and Backwell railway line, situated to the north. The survey was conducted approximately 15m from the railway and train noise was shown to be no higher than 57 decibels during the day and 52 decibels at night.
To avoid any adverse effects to heath and quality of life, appropriate measures have been agreed with the environmental health department at NSC based on the predicted noise levels. These measures include the provision of appropriate glazing and ventilation systems. In addition, to avoid exposure to high noise levels for dwellings directly adjacent to the railway, bedrooms and living rooms would not overlook the railway line.
When the masterplan for the site is finalised, a detailed technical acoustic report will be submitted as part of our planning application. The report will also assess train-induced vibration levels in the proposed dwellings and appropriate construction measures could be applied to the properties, should adverse vibration levels be determined.
As part of the initial work carried out gathering information for the site, our technical consultants have been in contact with the Environment Agency (EA), North Somerset Council (NSC), Natural England (NE), North Somerset Levels Internal Drainage Board (NSLIDB) and Wessex Water (WW).
The site is shown to be above and clear of any flood extents. However, the site is shown to be susceptible to surface water flooding. The source of surface water flooding appears to be from overland flow from the north of the site pooling along the central hedgerow. It is proposed that will be mitigated by the introduction of a formal drainage network for the site.
Water storage and flow control measures will be required to restrict discharge to levels equivalent to current greenfield run-off rates. Based on the response from NSC, it is proposed that storage will be provided in the form of shallow open ponds with flow carried via a network of shallow swales. Source control techniques such as permeable paving, rainwater harvesting and water butts will also be used.
The use of a shallow drainage network will limit the potential need to pump outflow from the site. Ultimately, however, a connection will be required across third party land to connect with the existing linear storage feature. Initial calculations indicate that approximately 1,400 cubic metres of storage will be required, assuming that the development will consist of approximately
60% impermeable surfacing.