A DEVELOPER planning to build 100 homes in between two ancient woodlands has said it will not cut down any trees. 

However, the planned development on Burghfield Common will have a footpath to it running through Pondhouse Copse. 

The developer, the Englefield Estate, has said while some of this ancient woodland will be cut down, no trees will be removed, just shrubs. Ancient woodland means it has existed since at least 1600 AD.

Burghfield parish councillors voiced their concerns about the development at a meeting on September 18 of West Berkshire Council’s eastern area planning committee. 

Alison May was concerned about how the new homes will affect the local habitat. She said: “The developer’s ecology report has not been made available to the public. Dormice live in hazel trees, in the same area proposed for access to Coltsfoot Close.”

She also that the council does not have an employed ecologist and the 15 metre buffer between the houses and the ancient woodland is ‘entirely inadequate’. 

While West Berkshire Council does not currently directly employ an ecologist, it has previously sub-contracted ecology work out to Hampshire County Council. 

Philip Brown, planning consultant for the Englefield Estate, said: “The ancient woodland isn’t going to be negatively impacted. No trees within the copse will need to be cut down. It will affect shrubs but no trees will be cut down for the footpath.

“Our detailed ecology surveys haven’t identified any dormice.”

Paul Lawrence, also on Burghfield parish council, raised concerns about traffic. He said there were ‘major concerns on visibility’. 

He said: “I think it will back up traffic tremendously. Traffic turning in is going to cause a problem.” 

Mr Brown said there would be 47 ‘extra traffic movements’ during rush hours. 

He said: “Highways officers concluded there aren’t any issues with highway safety. People assume 100 houses generate 100 cars every morning. Nowadays people don’t leave en masse.”

At the meeting, councillors voted grant outline permission to Englefield Estate. Only access was considered at this stage, with layout, density and appearance considered at a later meeting. 

Some residents were concerned that the road the footpath leads to, Coltsfoot Close, would have its name changed to Coltsfoot Way; and this would be vehicle access as well as a footpath.

But Michael Butler, principal planning officer for West Berkshire Council, said the street name will not change, and there will be no vehicle access on Coltsfoot Close. 

Regarding the habitat ecology report, he said: “The survey produced by the developer’s agent, we are satisfied is comprehensive.”