The White Horse Alliance gaves evidence at the start of the Examination in Public (EiP) of Wiltshire Council’s draft Core Strategy (CS) for the period to 2026. Over the following weeks our legal adviser Charlie Hopkins challenged the proposed ‘safeguarding’ of the Westbury eastern bypass route and the legality of the draft plan under the European Habitats Directive. Our ecological adviser, Prof John Altringham of Leeds University, presented evidence to show that massive housing developments and associated road schemes east of Trowbridge could have fatal consequences for breeding colonies of Bechstein’s bats in nearby woods.
Prof Altringham’s evidence prompted the council to publish planning guidance for developments proposed within areas used by bats linked to the European conservation site for bats between Bath and Bradford-on-Avon. The council has acknowledged that this larger habitat supporting the SAC extends to Wellhead Springs, south east of Westbury – on the route of its proposed eastern bypass of the town.
The examination of the draft core strategy remains ongoing at July 2014.