LANDSCAPE AND ECOLOGY

Landscape

A Landscape and Visual Appraisal has been undertaken as part of the supporting information for the planning application and to inform the master planning of the site. The site is not covered by any designations for landscape character or quality, however to the north and west is the South Downs National Park which is a landscape of very high quality and sensitivity. In addition, there are a number of listed buildings to consider together with the Castle Goring Conservation Area located a short distance to the west.

The appraisal considers that new housing at the site would be well related to the existing urban area and would form a logical extension to the Southern Sector development. In views from the wider area, including the South Downs National Park, it would be seen within a suburban context and largely screened by the proposed bund and planting on the northern boundary.

The key features of the landscape proposals are shown on the Landscape Strategy plan below. This illustrates how a well considered development can be accommodated at the site which respects the setting of its immediate and wider context, including the National Park and neighbouring heritage assets. In addition, the indicative layout retains the vast majority of existing landscape features, as well as making provision for areas of new planting.

Landscape Strategy Plan

Landscape Strategy Plan - click image to enlarge

Ecology

The ecology of the site has been carefully studied over a number of years and an updated habitat features survey and background data search was undertaken in 2015.

The most important feature, the existing pond habitat in the south west corner, which contains great crested newts, will be retained and enhanced within a new Sustainable Drainage corridor along the southern edge of the site, as well as a good, mixed habitat buffer along the western boundary. This also connects to the landscape and ecological corridor to the southwest, to create a strong connection around the wider site and into existing habitats to the west. The northern boundary will also be enhanced by significant new woodland planting on the acoustic bund.

Heritage

A number of archaeological studies and investigations have been previously undertaken in close proximity to consequently suggest that the archaeological potential of the site is low. The site itself is located close to the Castle Goring Conservation Area and the Grade I listed Castle Goring. Therefore, the masterplan retains a generous area of landscaped open space along the western site boundary to ensure the proposed development respects the setting of both the Conservation Area and Castle Goring.