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the Planning Inspectorate for permission to erect fences that would enable conservation grazing on the Common has been withdrawn, following consultation with local residents.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.”

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Yateley Common, Nightjar walk poster, 2015

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Dawn Chorus walk Castle Bottom 2015_(HF000006712889)

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A trial run of pond dipping at Zebon Copse proved fruitful, finding damselfly and dragonfly larvae as well as lots of fresh water hoglice. Book a place soon for a chance to see these weird and wonderful pond creatures.

 

Easter Poster v2, 2015Book now to avoid disappointment: http://ow.ly/ISukv

Hampshire County Council has made an application to the Planning Inspectorate for permission to erect fencing on Yateley Common.  This fencing is required to enable the reintroduction of grazing animals at Yateley – a traditional and sustainable method of conservation management.  Because the land is formally registered as a Common, permission for the fencing from the Secretary of State (through the Planning Inspectorate) is required.  The Planning Inspectorate will ensure that the correct balance is struck between the works necessary for the positive management of the common, and maintaining commoners and other users’ rights.

Hampshire County Council has worked closely with Natural England to ensure best practice is followed in maintaining and enhancing the biodiversity and recreational value of the Common. Natural England indicated positive support for the introduction of livestock on the Common, and following this support Hampshire County Council undertook community engagement and consultation.   The consultation considered management techniques available for the heath, including grazing, burning, mowing and turf stripping, and grazing was the preferred option. The fencing requirement needed in order to introduce livestock safely and enable their effective management, was then considered.

The County Council’s Executive Member gave permission for the application to be made in December 2013 and, since then, much work has gone into its preparation.  The application has now been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate and, in accordance with the legal requirements, notices have been placed on site and in the press, and interested parties have been contacted.

Members of the public have until February 27th to make their views known to the Planning Inspectorate.  A copy of the notice and further information can be found at Yateley Library or be viewed online at http://t.co/i2THXWLoiu (Please not that within the appendicies all underlined links will direct you to documentation for the PINS application)

Join The Big Spring Clean 2015, and help give Yateley Common a good litterpick!

Join The Big Spring Clean 2015, and help give Yateley Common a good litterpick!

 

Any one interested in taking part, please contact Jean at northern.sites@hants.gov.uk or telephone 01252 870425,  as I am trying to spread volunteers out across the whole of the Common and will designate different starting points accordingly.

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