Eight years previously
A developer wanted to build 250 homes at Moredon Bridge (on the extreme south-eastern edge of the parish of Purton). Wiltshire Council refused. It went to appeal and 200 were allowed with the express exclusion of a small area which was a protected site ~ a County Wildlife Site, called Bradley’s Meadow. At the time the Planning Inspector said:
“Prior to the commencement of the development hereby permitted, details of a management plan to secure the protection and enhancement of the Bradley’s Meadow…. shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the local planning authority. Development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.
The developer went away to build and to plot. They built and sold their 200 homes. There was no management plan for Bradley’s Meadow.
Fast forward five years
The developer came back for the other fifty. On Bradley’s Meadow. Wiltshire Council refused. It went to appeal. A different planning inspector presided.
At the appeal it was a given that the houses were going to be built and the discussion was more about how to “offset” the development. That is, destroy the existing site and build on it, and create another of equal (ecological) value somewhere else. A site at Bradford-upon-Avon was discussed that had significant constraints, yet a Wiltshire Council officer, disagreeing with the main Wiltshire Council representative at the enquiry said “….“I know it well [the site]. It’s definitely at the richer end of semi-improved calcareous grassland… It’s ideal…”
The planning inspector noted that whilst this person did not know the site “in a professional capacity” he gave the person’s viewpoint “substantial weight” in conflict directly with the planning officer giving the evidence.
Bradley’s Meadow was destroyed and the additional fifty houses were built and sold.
Not a single blade of offset grass has been grown to date on the new site at Bradford-upon-Avon