02 Dec, 2020

Project Outline

RammSanderson was instructed to carry out a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal on land off Market Road, Thrapston, Northamptonshire to inform a planning proposal for a 67-bed medical care home facility.

Thrapston is at the centre of one of the fastest growing regions in the country and is strategically located, close to the A14 and A45/A605.

The proposed new care home facility is part of a development scheme to build 650 new homes within the local area.

RammSanderson Approach

Habitat Survey

Working on behalf of Country Court Care and The Planning Hub, our initial role included carrying out an extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey to identify habitats present within the site.

Having visited the site to identify any potential habitats that would be negatively impacted by development works, our phase 1 habitat survey highlighted that the area was low in species diversity.

The surrounding trees and scrub on site were identified as suitable habitats for nesting birds. Our report highlighted that any vegetation clearance or tree pruning works should be completed outside of the bird nesting (March to September).

Also, during our initial survey, we highlighted two trees which had the potential to support roosting bats. Tree 1 was identified as having moderate potential and Tree 2 was identified as having high potential.

As such, retention and no impacts were recommended in relation to these trees. If this was not possible our recommendation was that further nocturnal surveys would need to be carried out, or alternatively an aerial inspection of the features by a bat licensed ecologist would allow for the bat roosting features and overall potential of the tree to be downgraded.

Loss of habitats on site due to development works was considered to have negligible impact on bat foraging locally. However, to prevent adverse impacts on bat activity within the area, a lighting strategy for the site was recommended to be sympathetic to nocturnal fauna and that works on site should not be completed a night.

Situated along the north-eastern site boundary, several species of cotoneaster plants were identified. As this invasive species is listed on schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, our recommendation was that a suitably qualified contractor should be contacted to establish a removal strategy.

In order to enhance the planning application, our report recommended the implementation of additional native planting to benefit local flora and fauna through the improvement of ecological corridors.

Other enhancements included the incorporation of bat and bird nesting boxes, situated within any retained vegetation, new planted trees or buildings.

Arboriculture Surveys

Our arboriculture specialists were also required to carry out an assessment of trees present on site. We followed the guidance set out in the British Standard 5837:2012 and provided a report on the arboricultural implications of the proposed development.

Following consultation with the project Architects regarding the arboricultural constraints, a site layout plan was produced which considered the most appropriate integration between the new build development and impact on existing trees.

Our survey assessed six individual’s trees, one group of trees and a single hedgerow. The rest of the site was made up of overgrowth vegetation and had limited tree cover.

Whilst on site we identified a tree preservation order (TPO) was in place. As a result, the trees detailed within our report were subject to statutory protection and no works to them were to be carried out without the prior consent of East Northamptonshire Council.

Elsewhere our survey identified two small trees (T5 and T7) that were considered to be unsuitable for retention due to their condition. In the interest of good arboricultural practice, we recommended that these trees were removed, irrespective of any future development of the site.

The single hedgerow was also recommended to be removed in order for development work to commence.

Having completed our arboriculture survey it was concluded that the proposed development would not result in a significant loss of public amenity or impact to the local tree cover.

What we did recommend however was to erect temporary protective fencing to create a construction exclusion zone which adequately protected the retained trees outline in the TPO from damage during the construction works.

Project Outcome

The advice and recommendations we put forward to both Country Court Care and The Planning Hub, resulted in outline planning permission being granted to build the care home.

Also, due to the fact RammSanderson was invited very early on in the process to review the site, had there been any major constraints, we would have been in an ideal position to resolve present proposals to resolve these issues and therefore avoid any potential delays they may have caused to the development.


“RammSanderson provided us with excellent professional advice and recommendations on this project, which helped to ensure that outline planning permission was granted. Their guidance has helped us to move forward with the next phase of the planning process in order that we can progress towards the provision of this much needed care home facility for the local area”

Matt Hubbard, The Planning Hub