Residents’ views heard on Yateley Common fencing planning application.
A joint application to the Planning Inspectorate for permission to erect fences that would enable conservation grazing on the Common has been withdrawn, following consultation with local residents. Now their feedback is being used to develop a modified application to graze a smaller part of the Common.
This would provide an opportunity to illustrate how the proposals would work, how the grazing could be implemented and would enable any technical concerns raised in response to the original application to be addressed.
A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council’s Countryside Service said: “We would like to thank everyone who took the time to submit their views on the application. Both organisations look forward to working with residents and local groups to ensure that this very special site is protected and conserved for the future.
“Both the County Council and the Wildlife Trust strongly believe that the introduction of grazing is the most effective and sustainable way to protect this internationally protected and precious habitat for the future.
“Heathland sites such as this require a great deal of management to ensure that the rare plants and species associated with Yateley Common are not squeezed out by the encroachment of scrub and woodland. Grazing would support a more comprehensive approach to the future management of this site.”
“We need to ensure everyone understands the aims of the project and how it will work in practice. With that in mind, we have decided to withdraw the current application to fence the Common and will be considering a revised plan in due course.”
Yateley Common is covered by both national and European nature conservation designations, recognising the importance of the site as a habitat for a range of specialist and rare species, including Nightjars and Dartford Warblers.
In January 2015 the Council applied jointly with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to the Planning Inspectorate for permission for the fences to enable the introduction of conservation grazing on the land. The application was submitted following a long period of research, engagement and consultation with the public and relevant organisations.
Elliott Fairs, Living Landscape Manager at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust said “Naturally, we are disappointed that the project has been paused at this stage, especially when we felt that real progress had been made working with the local community to develop the proposals. However, reintroducing grazing livestock back onto Yateley Common remains the best thing for local wildlife, and we will continue to work towards this goal.”