NBSP Community Group - Porposal for a wildlife garden

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NBSP Community Group - Final Proposal that was submitted to Southampton City Council

Transcript of NBSP Community Group - Porposal for a wildlife garden

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    The following document comprises an ecological scoping report for the

    proposed re-development of the former Portswood Diagnostic Unit.

    The re-development would entail a conversion to a local community

    wildlife area which would maximise the ecological potential and

    biodiversity of the site. The community wildlife area would provide an

    aesthetically pleasing space that would be easy to maintain and

    accessible for all residents from the surrounding area to enjoy.

    Toru Tsuzaki

    Ecologist

    Report No: PCG001

  • Contents

    Introduction................................................................................................................................3

    Background.................................................................................................................................3

    Aims and Objectives....................................................................................................................4

    Description of Site.......................................................................................................................4

    Baseline Conditions.....................................................................................................................4

    Conservation Designations..........................................................................................................5

    Outline Design.............................................................................................................................6

    Natural Pond...............................................................................................................................6

    Hedge and Fencing......................................................................................................................7

    Protected Hornbeam trees (Western border)..............................................................................8

    Planted Orchard (North eastern corner) ......................................................................................8

    Barbeque area (North western corner)........................................................................................9

    Semi-natural grassland and wild flower area ...............................................................................9

    Footpaths..................................................................................................................................10

    Other Environmental Considerations.........................................................................................10

    Conclusion ................................................................................................................................11

    Potential Issues .........................................................................................................................11

    Reference .................................................................................................................................12

    Appendix 1................................................................................................................................13

    Appendix 2................................................................................................................................14

  • Introduction

    Background

    Toru Tsuzaki was invited by Mr R. Persaud of Portswood Community Group on the 24th

    October 2009 to design and advise on the creation of a community wildlife area on the

    former site of the Portswood Diagnostic Unit, Brickfield Road, Portswood, and

    Southampton. The site location is presented in Figure 1

    Figure 1: Aerial photograph of the site showing its current condition

  • Aims and Objectives

    The aim of this report is to suggest ecological improvements to the site that could be pursued

    with the view to improving community amenities and providing an education resource which

    would benefit the local educational establishment.

    Description of Site

    A site walkover was conducted on the 27th

    October 2009. The site consisted of approximately

    2600 square meter of rank grassland. The site is bordered on three sides by a mixture of

    bramble, shrub and trees, beyond these by roads. The southern part of the site is bordered by

    fencing that backs onto residential properties.

    A small area in the north-east corner of the site is covered in an asphalt surface, which was in

    good condition. The site appears undeveloped since the removal of the diagnostic centre,

    leaving no obvious evidence of any structural drainage systems such as a soakaway.

    The site is surrounded by residential development mainly of Victorian terrace housing. At the

    western side of the site there is a primary and pre-school development (Portswood primary

    school, Somerset Road).

    The site was formally a diagnostic unit which consisted of prefabricated units that were not a

    permanent fixture to the site. The only evidence of these units is in the form of a concrete

    foundation which occupies a 500 m2 area in the north east corner of the site.

    The site has been regularly used for fly tipping. Southampton Council however, has recently

    cleared the area of fly tipped material in September, 2009. Furthermore, there did not appear to

    be any obvious contamination across the site during the geomorphological survey (Bureau

    Veritas, 2007).

    Baseline Conditions

    Ecological baseline surveys were carried out by Ecology and Planning and Research (EPR) to

    assess the wildlife value of the site. The site was evaluated as having a low to negligible value for

    wildlife other than a population of slow worm (Anquis fragilis). However, due to the sub-optimal

    time of year that the initial survey was undertaken it was not possible to ascertain a fully

    informed evaluation. A further targeted reptile and botanical survey was carried out in May and

    June 2007. The only species of reptile found was a good population of slow worm.

    The Ecological consultants ECOSA were contracted to capture and translocate the slow worm in

    accordance with the recommendations of EPR in their final mitigation strategy report. This work

  • was completed in September/October 2008 and slow worm were translocated to Manor Farm

    Country Park to the east of the city.

    An addendum to the Ecological Survey was prepared in August 2007 assessing the possible

    presence of great crested newt (Triturus cristatus). It was concluded that they are likely to be

    absent and subsequently this was confirmed when none were found when the site was

    surveyed. The grassland was assessed as having limited ecological value with low botanical

    diversity.

    Since post war clearance of the site, several trees have been planted and a group of three

    hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) on the Somerset Road frontage have been recently subject to a

    Tree Protection Order The Southampton (Portswood Primary School) Tree Protection Order

    2007. These are the only trees that are required to be retained on site. However, there may be

    other trees on site which can be retained such as the beech (Fagus sylvatica) hedge or at least

    some of it, along the Northcote Road/Brickfield Road frontage might also be incorporated as a

    retained feature.

    Conservation Designations

    Southern Hampshire is one of the most bio-diverse counties in the UK. Britain's most valuable

    wildlife habitats are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and protected by

    law, they cover 14.5% of the county, about twice the national average. A further 8.7% of

    Hampshire is covered by Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) (Hants 2009).

    Outside of these specifically recognised areas much of Hampshire's rural landscape, and many

    urban areas, are also rich in biodiversity.

    However, many wildlife areas have been replaced by the built environment or become degraded

    through changes in land management, and many species have declined or disappeared.

    The study area is surrounded by valuable conservation sites, such as the internationally

    important River Itchen Special Area of Conservation (SAC) (2km south), Southampton Common

    SSSI (1.5Km west) and Itchen Valley Nature Reserve (2Km east).

    In response to commitments outlined by the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity, the UK

    Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) was created. The plan outlines action for many species and

    habitats of conservation importance or concern at the national level and can be viewed at

    www.ukbap.org.uk.

    In addition to having national priorities and targets, action for biodiversity is also taken at a local

    level. The local biodiversity action plan (LBAP) for Hampshires has local priorities for wildlife

    that are of conservation concern or importance. A list of these species and habitats can be

    viewed at http://www.ukbap.org.uk/lbap.aspx?ID=451.

  • Hedgehog (Erinaceous europaeus) listed as a UKBAP priority species could potentially benefit

    from the proposed community wildlife area.

    In addition species listed in the LBAP list that could also potentially benefit include great crested

    newt, Pipistrelle bat