1. The site is within the Fairfield neighbourhood plan designated area. In the results of the survey providing evidence for the plan 95% of the 550 respondents felt that the Orchards should be protected from future development. This continues to support the overwhelming local reaction to the two previous applications CB/09/05489 and CB/10/02501 (both of which were withdrawn) where 117 and 660 pages of objections were received
2. In the emerging Fairfield Green Infrastructure Plan that will become part of the proposed Neighbourhood Plan, the prioritisation results for most important green areas were as follows;
- In identifying the most important green spaces (for potential Local Green Space designation), the West Orchard scored highest.
- In the group activity for identifying overall priorities, the West and east Orchards were joint top scorers.
- In the individual activity for identifying overall priorities, the West Orchard scored highest.
3. It is a County Wildlife Site recognised as such in 2010 as a Traditional Orchard with neutral grassland and non-fruit trees and should therefore be protected against development. Traditional Orchards are a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat.
The Governments Planning Policies are outlined in their National Planning Policy Framework and reinforced in CBCs Local Development Framework.
Planning Policy Statement 9 notes. The governments objectives for planning include:
‘to conserve, enhance and restore the diversity of Englands wildlife and geology by sustaining, and where possible improving, the quality and extent of natural habitat’
To allow development on this site would be contradictory to this objective.
4. The long established trees within the site have Tree Preservation Orders on them and it would be very difficult to avoid some damage to those trees as a result of the construction work.