Plans for new wildflower meadow and lake to boost biodiversity given green light

A new lake and wildflower meadow to help boost local biodiversity is set to be created after plans are greenlit.

The existing land at Penley Mill is described as ‘lined lowland farmland’ which is ‘wet grassland and largely populated with wetland plants such as rush’.

In March 2021, reported that an application had been submitted by Chris Burnett Associates, landscape architects, proposing that the land be used to enrich “landscape, visual and ecological diversity”.

Under initial plans, the claimants said the new lake would be created by “excavating to a maximum depth of 3.0m from existing ground level”.

The site proposals have now been given the green light by Lawrence Isted, director general of town planning and regulations by delegated decision.

Work on the biodiversity project would take place outside of the bird breeding season, with details in the Application Design and Access Statement explaining that a small island will be “created, with spoil excavated forming “a low mound to the south of the lake that eventually form the site of a new species-rich wildflower meadow.

Details provided on the development in the initial design and access statement, explained: “It will provide habitats that are not present in significant quantities in the surrounding area and will contribute significantly to the forest cover of the area.

“The proposals are large-scale but are consistent with the scale and nature of the landscape and will complement and enhance the setting of Penley Mill.

“Public access will be maintained ensuring that the benefits can be enjoyed by all.

“Furthermore, as the site is currently used for agricultural purposes, the existing ecological interest, even if limited, could potentially be damaged by future plowing and reseeding operations.

“This program not only protects this ecological interest, but radically enhances it by creating a series of additional and diverse habitats from open water, aquatic marginal plantings, woodland and wet meadows.”

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Chris B. Hall