Project

South East Trowbridge, Ashton Park

Location

South East Trowbridge

Client

Persimmon Homes

Services Used

Pegasus Group’s Cirencester office secured outline planning permission for a mixed use urban extension at South East Trowbridge, known as Ashton Park, at Wiltshire Council’s Strategic Planning Committee meeting on 25th April.

The application was on behalf of Persimmon Homes (43%) and CERP III Trowbridge Sarl Ltd (57%). The proposals comprise up to 2,500 dwellings, c14 hectares employment (B1,B2,B8) 2 local centres, 2 primary schools, site for a secondary school, ecological visitors facility, comprehensive green infrastructure including ecological green buffer to existing woods, extension to nature park as well as extension of existing country park along River Biss to provide direct and segregated pedestrian/cycle access to the town centre. The application also includes details of the Yarnbrook and West Ashton Relief Road to the south of the site, which would not only provide access to part of the site but also deliver strategic improvements to the A350, which is a high priority scheme for the Local Transport Plan with funding secured through LEP and more recently HIF.

This the largest strategic allocation in the Wiltshire Core Strategy 2015 and the resolution to grant outline consent, subject to S106, marks the end of a long road which started with Pegasus Group promoting the site through the Core Strategy process and examination. S106 Heads of Terms and financial contributions are all agreed in principle with Pegasus Group having negotiated some £4.8m reduction in secondary education contributions.

The application was submitted in May 2015 and, notwithstanding the allocation, the application process has been lengthy with involvement form Highways England, Environment Agency, Network Rail and education. However, the primary reason for the protracted negotiations has been the due process under the Habitat Regulations and the Council’s requirement for an Appropriate Assessment to demonstrate that there would be “no reasonable scientific doubt” as to whether there would be any adverse effects on the integrity of the Bath & Bradford-on-Avon Bats SAC, and particularly the Bechstein’s Bat population within the environs of the of the site.

After months of negotiations with the Council, its consultants (DTA), and Natural England, the details of mitigation and management of impact on the bats the Council was advised by its consultants that the master plan should be changed to relocate the business park to replace housing close to the existing woods to limit recreational pressure. Furthermore, the strategy previously recommended by Natural England of Tree “hop-overs” along the relief road was no longer considered to provide sufficient certainty, and bat underpasses were sought with a section of the road being raised by some 4 metres with significant changes to the road design. These changes required a comprehensive ES Addendum to be prepared.

Pegasus Group provided the following comprehensive range of services:

  • Planning, including management of complex negotiations
  • Urban Design, including master planning and comprehensive DAS which avoided need for a Design Code condition.
  • Environment, including management of the ES and a subsequent comprehensive ES Addendum
  • ES chapters including landscape and socio-economic impacts
  • Production of comprehensive Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Strategy

Planning

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