A property developer is seeking to demolish existing structures and build a distribution centre on land which may house a number of protected species.

An updated ecological report detailing the results of various species’ presence on Graven Hill’s employment site, on Circular Road in Ambrosden immediately south of the wider Graven Hill development, has shown the area may be home to several protected species.

The proposals for the site, first submitted in April this year, involved demolishing the existing buildings on the former MOD land for the redevelopment into a commercial distribution centre with associated infrastructure and landscaping.

The report states that the majority of the terrestrial habitat on the site will be lost to allow for the development.

The aim of the ecological assessment was to understand the impacts of the proposed development on any bat roosts within trees, identify key foraging and commuting areas for any bats present, identify the number and distribution of reptiles on the site, identify and assess the impacts of the development on badgers, and make recommendations for avoidance and mitigation.

The report details that: “The majority of the site was not suitable for reptiles, although the ditches with ruderal vegetation banks were considered suitable.

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“A total of seven survey visits were undertaken between April 20 and May 26 2022.

“A peak count of five common lizards were recorded on site. Following the population class size assessment, the site was therefore considered to support a ‘good’ population of common lizard.

“The lizards were recorded manly within the areas of grassland alongside the bare ground of the former railway lines in the north and east of the site.”

Further, the report states that one tree within the boundaries of the site had been identified as a day roost for common pipistrelle in a previous assessment carried out in 2020.

“Due to the presence of this roost and time elapsed since the previous surveys, an updated bat roost assessment was undertaken on all trees within the site boundary to reaffirm their potential as a bat roost.

“The assessment identified two trees with high potential, four trees with moderate potential and 15 trees with low potential to support roosting bats.

“Five trees were also considered to have hibernation potential.”

Listing the potential impacts the proposed development may have on the wildlife found at the site, the report states: “Further mitigation measures will be required prior to and during construction to ensure that no reptiles are harmed.

“Potential impacts of the proposed development on bat activity will be provided as an update to this addendum, upon completion of the surveys in October 2022.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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