SUCCESSFUL PLANNING APPROVAL FOR MAJOR SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT

Date Completed: 22/06/2016

Coventry City Council - Alice Stevens School

Dual instruction to carry out a preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA) and undertake a detailed tree constraints assessment for a major school development scheme in Coventry. Both were undertaken to inform development to create a solution around projected trees and habitat.

 

PROJECT SUCCESSES

  • planning permission achieved on first application, with specific planning conditions as recommended within our reports
  • the consideration of tree and ecological constraints from the outset ensured planning success
  • our focus on collaborative working with the city council officers, architects, design team and engineers
  • a commitment to by the client to implement the proposals correctly
  • low impact bat licence approved.

PROJECT SOLUTION - ECOLOGY

Potential ecological constraints identified during the PEA were roosting bats and nesting birds, the latter would be dealt with through appropriate timing of vegetation and building removal.

Further emergence and re-entry surveys were carried out to determine the status of bats at the site. Three roosts were found during the surveys, two non-breeding summer day roosts for common and soprano pipistrelle were observed and a transitional roost for common pipistrelle was also found.

As part of the planning application, we prepared and submitted a PEA report and roost characterisation report for the site which detailed the status of the roosts and mitigation required to ensure that adverse effects to bats were negated during construction and post-development. This was met well by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and planning permission was granted with conditions.

A Construction and Environmental Management Plan was conditioned by the Local Planning Authority in relation to ecology. This was prepared by us within days of the planning consent being granted, and was recommended for discharge by the planning ecologist the day after submission following successful prior liaison with the LPA.

A bat low impact class licence has been submitted for the site in order to allow works to proceed lawfully and to ensure that measures are put in place to retain bats at the site in the long-term.

PROJECT SOLUTION - TREES

The constraints posed by the mature treescape on the site was significant. The existing school site has some of the maturest English oaks within Coventry City and is sited on the boundary of an ancient woodland. Further to this the largest tree on site is directly linked the the neighbouring school logo.

We initially surveyed the trees following the guidance of BS5837:2012 and root protection areas plotted. This constraints information was then submitted to IDP group, the project architects to design around those important trees on site. Through continued dialogue with the architects and engagement with the city councils tree and planning officers it was possible to get agreement in relation to the balance between schooling needs and trees.

Once the plans for the site has been finalised we were instructed to prepare a detailed arboricultural impact assessment to support the proposals. This included details of demolition, temporary construction requirements and final continued impact to those retained trees. With the impact assessment details were given in relation to a 10 year management plan to reduce and retain one over-mature oak tree and for how construction of permanent hard-surfacing could be successfully achieved.

Planning approval was granted subject to a number of tree related planning conditions for detailed working method statements. Within 2 weeks of obtaining successful planning approval the necessary method statements were submitted and in principal agreed. The method statements included detailed tree protection plans for demolition, temporary access within root protection areas of retained trees and permanent surfacing within root protections areas.

FUTURE WORK

We now have an ongoing instruction to provide arboricultural clerk of works support to check and monitor the site throughout development and will be meeting the tree officer on site to sign off the tree protective fencing during the first week of December.

 

The method statements will ensure that the trees and development will continue to enhance the built environment of this area of Coventry and can be used as a learning tool for the pupils that attend the school once open.

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