Wildlife is under threat on the land adjacent to Henge Close. Adderbury Parish Council (APC) have started work on drainage for its planned football pitches. The work was delayed for two days earlier this week because of concerns raised by West Adderbury residents that APC lacked planning consent. Even if APC can show it has approval for the work, Cherwell District Council have imposed conditions to make sure that wildlife on the site is protected, Condition 18 of the change of use decision notice (18/00220/f) says
“All site clearance (including vegetation removal) shall be timed so as to avoid the bird nesting/breeding season from 1st March to 31st August inclusive, unless, in the case of a tree that is required to be removed for health and safety reasons, the Local Planning Authority has confirmed in writing that such works can proceed.
Reason – To ensure that the development does not cause harm to any protected species or their habitats in accordance with Policy ESD10 of the Cherwell Local Plan 2011-2031 and Government guidance contained within the National Planning Policy Framework.”
Large areas of vegetation have now been stripped from the field, in apparent contravention of condition 18. The earthworks are destroying the habitat of ground nesting birds, such as pheasants, skylarks, curlews and others. The stripped vegetation approaches hedegrows which will also damage the habitat of birds nesting in them.
West Adderbury residents are particularly concerned for the pheasants which are known to nest in the field. It is currently the middle of the pheasant nesting season. Even if a ground bird’s nest is not destroyed by the earthworks, disruption and noise can force the birds to abandon their nests. Stripping the vegetation destroys the insect biosphere on which many birds depend for food.
APC needs to raise millions of pounds for its project. Adderbury Park Football Club already has facilities that it has used for many years on the Lucy Plackett Playing Field. Given that we are also in the middle of a pandemic, what is the rush to begin this project? Why has APC apparently decided to ignore the planning constraints and risk damage to wildlife in West Adderbury?
Apart from any issue in planning law, destruction of wildlife is a crime. We understand that complaints have been made to Cherwell District Council and various wildlife protection bodies and a complaint to the wildlife officer at Thames Valley Police is being considered. Cherwell District Council have yet to make any satisfactory response on either the validity of the planning consent or the legality of Adderbury Parish Council’s apparent breach of a planning constraint.
Concerned residents can contact the Adderbury Parish Council Clerk, Theresa Goss, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 01295 710965.
The Cherwell District Council planning officer dealing with this matter is Matthew Chadwick, email: email@example.com,uk
The government has a page about wildlife crime that may be of interest: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wildlife-crime-and-how-to-report-it