Reinstated ferry crossing development would fail to protect local biodiversity

Permission for the creation of 40 parking spaces with a perimeter fence and low level lighting to serve a reinstated Essex ferry crossing has been refused as it would fail to protect local biodiversity due to a substantial lack of information in terms of protected species on, or near to, the site which might be affected by the proposal.

The ferry crossing had obtained permission under other regulatory regimes. The ferry service would be for pedestrians only, licensed for up to 12 foot passengers and operated between 8am and 5pm. The appeal site was located within the green belt. Given that the scheme would preserve openness, safeguard the countryside from encroachment and constituted an engineering operation (through the formation or laying out of means of access to highways) it would be not inappropriate development in the green belt. The main issue was, therefore, the effect of the proposed development on local biodiversity. A preliminary ecological assessment had found two adders on site. The survey went on to describe the overgrown nature of the site which was un-managed, and the nearby presence of water bodies. These were all factors which pointed to a need to undertake specific surveys, and in particular, to determine whether great crested newts were within close proximity to the site, in addition to other protected animals or habitats. No further surveys had been undertaken or submitted. The absence of this information meant that it was not possible to be certain that the proposal would not result in significant harm to biodiversity as envisaged by paragraph 118 of the national planning policy framework.

Inspector: Cullum Parker; Written representations

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