Bat plan for would-be site of 73 homes in Milton Keynes ‘hedges’ towards decision

A bat plan is being proposed to help protect a rare species of the flying mammal if a scheme to build 73 new homes in a Milton Keynes estate is approved.

By David Tooley, local democracy reporter
Monday, 11th January 2021, 3:08 pm
Updated Monday, 11th January 2021, 3:10 pm

The 2.59-hectare site off Daubeney Gate, in Shenley Church End, is one of the many pieces of land that the council owns and wants to see developed.

Now, developer Taylor Wimpey and the council owned Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP) have submitted a planning application that is set to be decided by April.

The site has been assessed by eco experts who say that among the species of bat using the site to “forage and commute” is the barbastelle, which the Wildlife Trusts says has a short, upturned nose, giving it a pug-like appearance.

Much of the site is currently hedges and bramble

Eco assessors for the developers say the insect-munching bat is “light-averse, associated with wooded habitats, and considered to be rare, both in the county and the UK.”

So they have asked for street lights in the area that are “designed to be sensitive to commuting and foraging bats, particularly given that barbastelle bats have been recorded within 2km.”

They have also put forward a plan to protect much of the land’s existing scrub land and hedgerows, and to plant 110 metres more of a species-rich hedgerow.

But the plan will still see 0.2 hectares of scrub-land, an oak tree, a field maple, three poplars and four willow trees lost.

In return, they plan to plant 38 new trees, as well as planning 16 hedgehog highways to help the increasingly rare ground dwelling critter.

The site itself has been earmarked for development since 2016, first for a primary school but latterly reallocated for residential use.

Nearby residents have told planners that the site has a history of causing flooding problems, and of parking problems in the area. The applicants say both those issues have been dealt with.

The application is available for comment on the council’s planning website.