A new community group and three respected conservation organisations have joined forces to oppose plans for a relief road and housin g to the west of Brandon.
Brandon Community Union (BCU), the RSPB, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Suffolk Wildlife Trust have all voiced common concerns about the impact the development would have on the Brecks’ nationally important wildlife.
BCU’s objection also cites a broad range of concerns, including the ability of the town’s existing infrastructure, from schools and GPs to the local road network, to cope with the strain of the population increase resulting from a development that would increase the number of houses in the town by more than a third.
Eddie Stewart, Chairman of Brandon Community Union said: “There are so many reasons this proposal should never be allowed to see the light of day, but even if issues like the drastic alteration of our town’s size and character, the extra traffic, and the lack of job provision just vanished, the impact on wildlife would remain.”
The main objection of the conservation charities has been the location of the housing development, which they argue would ‘cause irreversible damage to nationally important populations of three of the UK’s rarest and most vulnerable breeding birds’.
The site is adjacent to the Breckland Special Protection Area, which they say contains some of the best habitat in the country for nightjar, woodlark, and stone-curlew. It also falls entirely within an area identified as environmentally sensitive in local housing strategies.
James Robinson, RSPB director for eastern England said: “Building in the location being proposed for this development would result in permanent loss of habitat for three of the UK’s rarest birds. We would be cutting off our nose to spite our face, when planning authorities have already identified other options that would meet needs for new housing and avoid altogether such damaging wildlife impacts.”
Brendan Joyce, Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust said: “We are very concerned that this development will lead to the loss of breeding stone curlew at Weeting Heath. This would not only have an adverse impact on the birds themselves but lead to the loss of an important site for wildlife watching, which helps bring visitors into the area.”
Julian Roughton, Chief Executive of Suffolk Wildlife Trust said: “This site is within an area of very high nature conservation value. It would also result in the loss of areas of UK and Norfolk/Suffolk priority habitats, such as wet woodland, which are not compensated for as part of the proposal.”
For more information and advice visit: www.brandoncommunityunion.co.uk