Eastleigh Borough Council has recently published a range of ‘Statements of Common Ground’ with key partner and statutory organisations that outline an agreed approach in relation to its Local Plan.
The Council has received a positive Statement of Common Ground that specifically relates to measures that will be included in the plan to ensure that Ancient Woodland is protected. This Statement, that has been agreed by Natural England, the Forestry Commission, Forestry England, Highwood Group Ltd, and Galliford Try Partnership/Drew Smith Ltd, will provide extra protection to ensure that the ancient woodland and the biodiversity they support are protected and enhanced..
The Council has always maintained a commitment to protecting the ancient woodland and associated ecological networks. During a consultation process last year widespread comments were received about concerns of the impact of new housing on a site close to ancient woodland. The resulting modifications to the local plan policy that the Council has proposed include:
- A net gain in the biodiversity of the ancient woodland;
- The provision of new green spaces, tree planting and habitat creation, including: open buffers of at least 50 metres
- Measures to provide environmental connections across the link road (for example green bridges, animal tunnels, and overarching trees);
- Retention of individual mature trees and hedgerows within the site wherever possible, or else ensure their replacement;
- Restoration and enhancement of the existing woodland;
- A visitor management plan and long-term funding to maintain the new habitats, nature park and visitor management measures.
Statements of Common Ground have also been agreed between The Council and Winchester City Council in terms of ‘duty to cooperate’ and a general policy approach to phasing and safeguarding the route of the link road. These Statements of Common Ground have been placed on our website (document reference ED30 & ED31) and other Statements of Common Ground will be published in due course.
Council Leader Cllr Keith House said, “These Statements of Common Ground represents a very important and positive step in demonstrating that the Council has a sound local plan. We look forward to receiving the dates for the public inquiry in due course.”