Residential development was proposed within the former St. Clere’s Golf Course, at Butts Lane, Stanford-le-Hope, which lies adjacent to a Local Wildlife Trust and close to European designated habitats within the Thames corridor. Because of its experience in landscape planning for residential developments, Liz Lake Associates was asked by Barratt Homes to ensure that the master-planning of the development scheme fully respected the site’s biodiversity assets and the ecological interests of the wider area.
To fully assess the biodiversity constraints and opportunities associated with the site, Liz Lake Associates undertook a series of specialist ecological surveys. These surveys indicated that the site supports a range of UK and European protected species including great crested newts, reptiles, badgers and a characteristic range of invertebrates and breeding birds, typical of this part of the Thames corridor. We worked closely with the Essex Wildlife Trust and Natural England to provide the optimal outcome in terms of protected species mitigation, habitat compensation and biodiversity net gain.
As a result of discussions with the team and environmental consultees the scheme evolved to incorporate the retention and enhancement of a substantial portion of the former golf course as a Strategic Open Space. This will be managed as wildlife habitat and informal recreational land; it will also deflect potential user conflict from the sensitive estuarine habitats nearby and their inhabiting bird populations of international importance. The Strategic Open Space habitats along contains new wetland, wild flower grassland and woodland habitats. These areas will be managed in accordance with a Biodiversity Management Plan, to ensure that their wildlife interests are conserved and optimised in the long term. Following scheme approval, Liz Lake Associates was retained to supervise a programme of protected species mitigation and to ensure that all planning conditions relating to ecology have been addressed and fully integrated into the design proposals, in liaison with the local planning authority.