The appeal scheduled for March 2016 has been withdrawn by the developers. The approval of the Stroud District Local Plan in November 2015 now offers considerable protection to Rodborough Fields & Frome Banks.
During the build up to the appeal The Planning Inspectorate and Secretary of State highlighted the following key points:
- The site is designated in the Local Plan as a Key Wildlife Site (KWS) and has the potential to support protected species including nesting birds, bats, badgers, water voles, otters and reptiles. The proposal would result in the permanent loss of approximately 2.75 ha of lowland meadow (a UK BAP priority habitat) which forms part of this KWS.
- A new bridge/access road would be constructed over the River Frome, severing a river corridor which forms an important wildlife corridor for bats. Considering the information available at this time and advice given by Natural England, the proposed development is likely to have a significant effect on the qualifying features of designated wildlife sites and legally protected species.
- The site is located approximately 485m to the north of the Rodborough Common Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The site is also within the 4km sustenance zone of the Woodchester Park SSSI Greater Horseshoe bat maternity roost. The Woodchester Park SSSI also supports Lesser Horseshoe bats, with both species being legally protected.
The Rodborough Fields & Frome Banks Preservation Group would like to thank all those who have worked to protect these areas. They include; Stroud District Council, Stroud Town Council, Rodborough Parish Council & Clerks, and many thousands of people in the community who have written objections, attended events, raised funds, given support and campaigned tirelessly to preserve these landscapes. A special mention and thanks must be given to the late Bob Tiley who started this campaign in 1991 and gave so much in service to the community.