The Wildlife Trust lends support to Saltwells campaigners

The Birmingham and Black Country branch of The Wildlife Trust has lent its support to campaigners opposing a nine-house development on Saltwells Nature Reserve.

The Trust said it was disappointed not to be consulted on the planning application, as it affects 'a site statutorily designated for its nature conservation value'.

In a document, signed by Samantha Pritchard, Senior Biodiversity and Planner Officer for the charity which aims to save wildlife and wild places around the UK, it was also noted that the proposed development would result in the direct loss of semi-natural ancient woodland and was in contravention of the Black Country Core Strategy. However it was recognised that the Strategy does allow for exceptional circumstances where strategic benefit outweighs the ecological importance. Ms Pritchard said:

"The proposed development is located adjacent to, and within one area of, designated ancient woodland - woodlands that have existed since at least 1600 AD and as such are irreplaceable. 

"The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country objects in principle to any development which would result in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitat and does not believe that the proposed development meets the definition of 'exceptional circumstances'.

"Therefore, [we] believe that the Local Planning Authority would be required to refuse the current planning application."

The report will come as a boost to campaigners who are looking to oppose the application which, if granted, would see nine houses built on the former site of Saltwells House. A Facebook group has been set up, which currently has almost 10,000 members, which aims to oppose the plans.

The Wildlife Trusts full report can be read here.


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