The Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI) at the western edge of the site was originally designated for its rich grassland, scrub and woodland habitat. However, in its current state it’s overgrown, inaccessible and misused.
The development will restore this area to chalk grassland, scrub and woodland in keeping with the character of the South Downs. The dew pond will also be restored, and pedestrian/cycle paths provided, connecting to the South Downs National Park. The SNCI will be managed to maximise its benefit to wildlife and for public enjoyment.
Existing wildlife sensitively managed
Hazel Dormouse, Slow-worm, Common Lizard, birds and low numbers of foraging bats currently inhabit the site
The measures proposed as part of the development will enhance the SNCI for all species
In addition to retaining and protecting core wildlife habitat, dispersal routes around the site will be created to allow wildlife to move to surrounding habitats along the A27 embankment and in Three Cornered Copse
The habitat restoration and management proposals described below, together with contributions towards habitat creation projects in nearby Local Wildlife Sites, will ensure that populations of these species in the local area are conserved and enhanced
Works on site will be carefully planned and managed to minimise disruption to wildlife, taking into account seasonal constraints, and vegetation clearance will be supervised by a suitably qualified ecologist
Improvements to wildlife
At present, the site is unmanaged and being taken over by dense scrub. The proposals will increase the diversity of habitats with the addition of species-rich chalk grassland, bare chalk and wetland areas alongside scrub and woodland, and all of these habitats will be managed in the long term for wildlife
These habitats will encourage new species onto the site, including plants, amphibians, invertebrates, birds, bats and potentially other reptile species
New hibernation features will be created in the SNCI for reptiles, amphibians and small mammals. Nest boxes will be provided for bats, birds and Dormice, and green roofs will be sown with a chalk grassland seed mix
Frequently Asked Questions
What does “managing” the Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI) mean?
Currently the SNCI is “unmanaged”, meaning it is currently overgrown, inaccessible and misused. St Congar’s proposals include managing the SNCI, meaning the creation of new pedestrian and cycle paths, opening up and maintaining areas of chalk grassland, the restoration and maintenance of the dew pond, and other methods to increase the diversity of habitats to benefit as many species as possible.
How will wildlife move around the development?
The Masterplan has been designed to retain a core wildlife corridor at least 10-15m (33-50ft) wide that wraps around the eastern and northern boundaries of the site, and connects directly into the SNCI. This will allow wildlife to freely move in and out of the site along the A27 embankment, which is the key means of dispersal for species such as Slow-worm, Common Lizard and Hazel Dormice.
Within the developed area, several wide green corridors run both north/south and east/west, all connecting back into the A27 embankment and the SNCI. These will include tree clumps and scrub as well as areas of longer grass, to provide cover for wildlife.
Garden and boundary fences will be designed to allow wildlife such as Hedgehogs to pass through.
How will wildlife be protected during construction?
Construction areas will be securely fenced off with temporary fencing at all times to prevent larger animals from entering construction areas, and to prevent accidental damage to retained habitats. Excavations will be covered at night. Best practice measures will be followed in order to prevent pollution, as well as excessive dust, noise, vibrations and lighting.
Vegetation clearance will be undertaken in stages and timed to avoid sensitive periods for wildlife, such as nesting and hibernation seasons. All vegetation clearance will be directed and supervised by an experienced ecologist, and site workers will be fully briefed on the wildlife interest of the site and the protection measures that are in place.
Smaller animals, such as Slow-worm and Common Lizard, will be captured over a period of months prior to clearance, and released into suitable habitat on or off site. Special exclusion fencing will be installed to prevent animals from re-entering the construction area.
Construction will also be phased in such a way as to ensure that undisturbed habitat remains available for wildlife at all times, including corridors connected to the SNCI and A27 embankment.