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Company behind care home plans responds to environmental impact concerns

The proposed site is near to the former Oasis sports & leisure club in Thorpe St Andrew. Photo: Bill Smith

The proposed site is near to the former Oasis sports & leisure club in Thorpe St Andrew. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2014

A company behind plans for a new care village in Thorpe St Andrew claims newts and bats will "prosper" if the development goes ahead.

Lowestoft-based care provider Carlton Hall is seeking permission to build a 68-bed care home, 23 flats and 18 bungalows on a site off Pound Lane.

But concerns have been raised about the environmental impact of the development, which would see an area of nearby woodland lost.

Meanwhile, the campaign group Friends of Thorpe Woodlands also highlighted how the scheme could affect existing bat and newt populations.

Responding to those concerns, Tony Prendergast, managing director of Carlton Hall Care Village near Lowestoft, said: “If we thought it would do lasting damage to sensitive environments and have a long-term detrimental effect on local wildlife, we wouldn’t have taken it this far.”

An ecology report contained within a planning application to Broadland District Council said “minor negative impacts” on habitats could be mitigated against.

It said the development will destroy a minor bat day roost and could impact on nesting birds.

But the developer’s arboriculturist and landscape designer Chris Yardley said the ecology study concluded any risk of detriment to wildlife populations would be “temporary, minor and reversible”.

He said the development will see the installation of several alternative bat roosts on the site.

Mr Yardley added: “Similarly, the plans do not harm the pond where great crested newts live, or the majority of the habitat surrounding it.

“Consequently, the conservation status of the newt population is unlikely to be affected,” he said.

In regard to tree loss, the company said only four trees classed as having “amenity value” will be lost, along with a number of “low amenity value trees”.

But council comments on the pre-application proposals for site highlighted around 21 trees would be lost altogether.

Mr Yardley said 46 trees would be planted in their place.

A press release on behalf of the applicants claimed newts and bats will “prosper” if the plans go ahead.

The site is close to the former Oasis sports and leisure club, which itself is due to be demolished to make way for homes.

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