Langarth Farm Stadium and Mixed Use Development – Ecological Impact Assessment
In response to an accepted shortfall in the housing supply for Truro, Inox Group came forward in 2009 with a scheme to deliver a highly sustainable, mixed-use development at Langarth, Threemilestone. Aimed at creating a residential led community of 1500 homes, the scheme features a balanced mix of high quality affordable and open market housing, varied employment opportunities, leisure facilities, including a sports stadium, public open space, local services and an extension to the existing park and ride facility.
The site at Langarth Farm comprises some 67ha of arable land (brassicas and cereals), most of it occurring over the north-facing slopes above theLangarthValley. Langarth is approximately 5km west ofTruroand immediately north of Threemilestone.
As part of a multi-disciplined team, CEC were responsible for all of the ecological issues associated with the existing site and the proposed scheme, including scoping, baseline ecological appraisals, impact assessments, mitigation and monitoring. Following more than 12 months of ecological surveys and analysis that considered in detail a range of habitat, floral and faunal issues, and involved dedicated species surveys for wintering and breeding birds, bats, otter, dormice, harvest mice, invertebrates, reptiles and badgers, an ecological chapter of the Environmental Statement in support of the application for development was submitted in 2011.
Throughout this period, findings from the various habitat and species surveys were being used to inform and shape the development of a masterplan for Langarth. CEC played a key role in this process by ensuring that all decisions relating to design and layout considered fully the existing environmental characteristics and features of the site. Chief amongst these was the retention and enhancement of over 9km of species-rich hedgerow, the protection of important riparian habitats along the Langarth Stream and development of a suite of mitigation and compensation measures aimed at minimising potential impacts on important species, in particular bats, badgers, breeding and wintering birds and arable weeds.
Notwithstanding the presence at Langarth of a number of ecological constraints, CEC has been able to demonstrate to Cornwall Council that the impact of this ambitious scheme will have no significant adverse impacts upon any of the important habitats and species there, or where significant impacts are unavoidable, for example localised loss of arable weeds and disturbance to wintering woodlark, satisfactory compensation has been provided.
Planning permission for a stadium was granted in 2011. Cornwall Council have yet to decide on the application for mixed use development on the remaining parts of Langarth Farm, though the proposal has the support of planning officers, with consent for outline approval expected in spring/summer 2012.
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