Planning meeting moved to allow great crested newt removal

Artist's impression Image copyright Crest Nicholson

A planning meeting was brought forward to allow developers to start removing newts from a site before the animals go into hibernation.

Crest Nicholson wants to build 1,290 homes on the outskirts of Bristol, but the project could have been delayed because of the protected species.

The great crested newt is protected by law and must be removed before construction works begins.

Missing the deadline would mean a delay of nearly a year.

Crest Nicholson must remove the newts before construction works begins and provide a suitable habitat and migration corridors for them, the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme reported.

The decision by South Gloucestershire Council to hold the meeting this week cleared the way for the developer to start preparatory work for the development to the east of Harry Stoke.

Image caption The great crested newt is found throughout Europe. It is a protected species in the United Kingdom.

It has taken at least seven years to reach the point where work can start on the project on land which was removed from the green belt.

"Viability constraints" mean only 292, or 23%, of the homes will be "affordable" which is below the council's target of 35%.

Depending on what is agreed with NHS England, the development could have a four-GP surgery or pay towards increasing the provision elsewhere.

Nearly £17m will be secured to provide the necessary infrastructure, including a new primary school, a nursery, a community hub and transport improvements.

But details of the layout, scale and appearance of the buildings, and the landscaping of the site, are yet to be seen and approved by the council.

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