A DEVELOPER has defended plans to remove ancient woodland for a new housing development.

The Englefield Estate wants to build 100 homes at Burghfield Common, in between two ancient woodlands: Clayhill Copse and Pondhouse Copse. Ancient woodland means it has existed for at lest 400 years.

Some of this will be felled to make way for a footpath and cycle path which will connect the development with the nearby Coltsfoot Close.

A spokeswoman for the Englefield Estate said: “As a result of recent revisions to the ancient woodland designation by Natural England, the proposed footpath and cycleway now runs through approximately 10 metres of the ancient woodland designation.

“Although there may be a requirement for a small number of shrubs and low lying bushes to be removed to accommodate the path, no trees are proposed for removal and no overall impact on the ancient woodland is anticipated.

“There is a buffer zone of at least 15 metres between the ancient woodland and the proposed new homes, in line with planning policy requirements.

“West Berkshire Council allocated the Burghfield Common site for new homes in May 2017 and the proposals, which are being brought forward by the Englefield Estate, include 40 per cent affordable housing.

“The planning application will go before West Berkshire’s eastern area planning committee next week.”