Salisbury councillors have withdrawn their support for an Asda supermarket and petrol station after seeing new evidence about its potential impact on wildlife and the environment.
On Monday, 20th March, the councillors heard that surveys of the proposed development site on London Road recorded 33 bird species. Eleven were ‘of high conservation concern’, and seven of these were breeding.
Four of the species recorded – mistle thrush, house sparrow, linnet and greenfinch – are on the government’s Red List due to declining populations.
An ecological report submitted to Wiltshire Council said there would be ‘a significant adverse effect’ on the local bird population from the loss of habitat, nesting and foraging opportunities.
The roadside verge also houses a significant colony of pyramidal and bee orchids, while site surveys showed five species of bats, principally foraging along Green Lane, and a small population of legally protected lizards.
The report said ‘mitigation and compensation measures’, including off-site habitat creation, would be required and agreed by the developers with Wiltshire Council.
Residents had already told the city’s planning committee that they value and enjoy the wildlife in an otherwise built-up area. They voiced concern about the impact of light pollution and extra traffic on remaining wildlife and on nearby homes. The City Council had previously supported the application, but with several caveats, which have not been addressed according to councillors. These included reduced opening hours, more EV charging points, installation of solar panels and water recycling, raised banking to shield homes from light pollution, coin-operated trolleys and a lower speed limit on London Road.
The City Council is a consultee on planning applications and can make comments but cannot make decisions, which are the responsibility of Wiltshire Council. The committee also requested that the application be heard in Salisbury, rather than Trowbridge, to allow local people to attend.