Protected species may save Blue Mountain Golf Course from developmentBy Hugh Fort
May 08, 2012
Amphibians, snakes and badgers are giving hope to campaigners desperate to save a golf course earmarked for housing in Binfield.
Great crested newts, adders, grass snakes and badgers have all been discovered living near the Blue Mountain Golf Course in Wood Lane, Binfield.
They are all protected species and strict planning laws protect their habitats.
Members of the Northern Arc Action Group (NAAG) are hoping to halt Bracknell Forest Council’s plans to build 400 homes, two schools and a new ground for Bracknell Town Football Club on the golf club, under its Site Allocations Development Plan Document (SADPD).
NAAG chairman Nigel Rennie said: “We’re very excited at the discovery of these rare and protected animals.
“They have been found close to the golf course and people who know what they’re talking about say it’s extremely likely they live on the golf course itself.
“We think it’s a virtual zoo down there so we’re exploring whether we could apply to have it turned into a Special Protection Area with very strict development rules.”
However, the council says surveys have been carried out on the land and plans to protect ‘important’ species would be put into any development plans.
Max Baker, the council’s head of spatial policy, said: “An ecological survey was carried out at Blue Mountain as part of the SADPD process.
“This identified the golf course site as largely amenity grassland which is regularly mown and offers little shelter or foraging for wildlife.
“A number of ponds and wet ditches within the site which could provide habitat were also noted. The infrastructure delivery plan requires the protection of such habitats on the Blue Mountain site.
“As development proposals are progressed, further ecological surveys will be required, including surveys of all ponds within 500 metres of any development area. Appropriate protection of any important species will be built into any development proposals.”
The plans are part of the council’s SADPD, which also proposes another 400 homes in Amen Corner in Binfield, as well as 2,000 homes in Warfield and 1,000 homes on the former Transport Research Laboratory site in Crowthorne.