A year on from the start of the process, Rodborough Fields & Frome Banks planning application has been refused by Stroud District Council. The key wildlife site, lowland meadows and wildlife corridors are the key reasons given for protecting these areas.

The reasons for the Council’s decision to refuse permission are:

With reference to paragraphs 117 and 118 of the National Planning Policy Framework (the NPPF) and ODPM Circular 06/2005 ‘Biodiversity and Geological Conservation – Statutory Obligations and their impact within the Planning System,’ the application is refused for the following reasons:

  1. The proposal would adversely affect Rodborough Fields Gloucestershire Key Wildlife Site. As Rodborough Fields is of county nature conservation value, the proposal does not outweigh the damage to the structure of the Key Wildlife Site and its ecological functions. The proposed mitigation strategy does not adequately compensate for the predicted effects. The proposal is therefore contrary to approved Local Plan Policy NE3 and Emerging Local Plan Policy ES6.
  2. The proposal would destroy 2.75ha of lowland meadow, a UK Biodiversity Action Plan habitat, also known as a habitat of principal importance for the purpose of conserving biodiversity and a priority habitat. The proposed mitigation does not adequately compensate for the predicted effects. The proposal is therefore contrary to approved Local Plan Policy NE6 and Emerging Local Plan Policy ES6 and the provisions of the Section 41 of the 2006 Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act.
  3. The proposal would have a permanent adverse effect on the ability of the Cotswold Escarpment and Valleys Strategic Nature Area (Number 140) to function as part of Gloucestershire’s network of priority habitats. It is therefore contrary to Emerging Local Plan Policy ES6 and paragraphs 117 and 118 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
  4. The proposal would adversely affect Frome Banks Gloucestershire Key Wildlife Site. As Frome Banks is of county nature conservation interest, the proposal does not outweigh the damage to the structure of the Key Wildlife Site and its ecological functions. The proposed mitigation strategy does not adequately compensate for the predicted effects. The proposal is therefore contrary to approved Local Plan Policy NE3 and Emerging Local Plan Policy ES6.
  5. The proposal would have a permanent adverse effect on the capacity of Frome Banks Key Wildlife Site and Rodborough Fields Key Wildlife Site to support European and other protected and priority species including bats, otters, king-fishers and dippers. It is therefore contrary to approved Local Plan Policy NE4, Emerging Local Plan Policy ES6 and the NERC Act.
  6. The proposal would have a permanent adverse effect on the ability of Frome Banks Key Wildlife Site to function as a wildlife corridor and as part of an ecological network. It would obstruct the passage of species through the environment and increase the risk of isolating populations of European and other protected species. It is therefore contrary to approved Local Plan Policy NE5 and Emerging Local Plan Policy ES6.
  7. The proposal would have a permanent adverse effect on the nature conservation interest of the River Frome. It is therefore contrary to approved Local Plan Policy NE7 and Emerging Local Plan Policy ES6.

There will be a number of questions around what may happen next – if the developers choose to appeal the decision. The RF&FB Preservation Group will be working with all interested groups and the community to look protecting these areas for wildlife, amenity and other benefits.

There are so many people and statutory bodies to thank. An extensive thank you list will be put together over the coming days. In the short term, a thank you event has been organised at The Prince Albert, Rodborough on Monday 18th November from 7:30pm. There will be some live music later in the evening. Everyone is invited – we hope to see you there!