A application to build 115 homes in Brightlingsea has been put on ice due to ecological concerns.

Tendring District Council’s (TDC) Planning Committee deferred a decision over the scheme in Robinson Road at its meeting on Wednesday.

Councillors felt that they did not have enough information about European protected species, particularly great crested newts and bats, which had habitats on or near the site. Although initial wildlife habitat surveys have been carried out, the committee did not feel they went far enough and called for more work to be done. There were also concerns about a loss of hedgerow; a second access being created as part of the scheme; the width of Robinson Road to take the extra traffic and the garden size of some of the new homes.

Hopkins Homes Ltd made the application for 115 properties with garages, access roads, parking, fencing, public open space, landscaping, drainage and highway infrastructure. Susanne Ennos, TDC’s Planning Team Leader, said that the proposal was a sustainable development on the edge of Brightlingsea and the design, layout, landscaping and scale were all acceptable.

“The density is 22 homes per hectare and there is a mixture of property types, most of which are two storeys,” she said. “There are houses, bungalows and apartments as well as two main areas of open space and more parking spaces than required under our standards.”

The committee heard that Natural England had no objection to the application; surveys had been carried out and subject to mitigation measures it was felt there would be no impact on wildlife. However, on a visit earlier in the day the committee had been made aware of a great crested newt which was thought to have been hibernating in the area. The site is currently agricultural land and next to another significant development which is under construction and nearly complete.

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