New homes get go-ahead despite concerns over bats

Plans have now been approved for the site in Brantham near Manningtree. Picture: GRANVILLE DEVELOPME

Plans have now been approved for the site in Brantham near Manningtree. Picture: GRANVILLE DEVELOPMENTS/BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

A housing development in an area of protected species of bats and mature trees has been given the go ahead after developers met conditions made against the original plans.

Common Pipistrelle Bat hunting at twilight. Picture: LAURIE CAMPBELL/RSPB-IMAGES

Common Pipistrelle Bat hunting at twilight. Picture: LAURIE CAMPBELL/RSPB-IMAGES - Credit: Laurie Campbell (rspb-images.co

Some residents in Brantham, near Manningtree, had been fighting the housing application since it was first submitted in November 2018 which will see 15 new properties built.

Brantham Place will also be converted into six apartments in the development which was given the go ahead after receiving 28 public objections.

Natural England, the government’s adviser for the natural environment in the country helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes, had no objections to the plans.

Seven species of bats are said to inhabit the area, deemed an area of outstanding natural beauty, including chiroptera, pipistrellus, common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, brown long-eared bat, serotine and noctule varieties.

Alastair McCraw, district councillor for Babergh and parish council chairman for Brantham, said: “Babergh Planning Committee passed the final version of the Brantham Place application at the start of June. I say final version, because these plans had been heavily altered over the last two or so years. That was in direct response to the consultation responses from Brantham, from the AONB, and a host of the significant consultees.

“I’ve rarely seen so many objections, soundly made, actually acted upon, and addressed in the proposals. It wasn’t too surprising that the vote was unanimous.

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“It massively improved the application retaining most of the quality trees and moving the buildings to a less sensitive area. There are a raft of conditions and attending to those, and their implementation will be my next job, in particular remaining concerns and mitigation for the resident and nearby bat population.”

Matthew Firth, managing director of Granville Developments, said: “We prepared a slightly reduced number of properties for a pre-application meeting with Babergh district Council.

“We carefully ensured that all of the constraints in respect to ecology, wildlife, trees and highways were worked into an upmarket design of properly spaced houses.

“We catered for all needs and listened to all consultation responses.”

But resident Kristie Thomas, 38, said: “I grew up in Brantham and I never thought they’d build here. It’s already met its quota of housing developments and there are a lot of concerns that deer are living here.”

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