Frequently asked questions
Q. Concerns raised regarding general increase in noise levels from cars, delivery vehicles, customers, restaurant.
A. An acoustic consultant has been appointed and has reviewed all sources of potential noise and how they can be mitigated. The introduction of a 2.5m acoustic wooden fence installed along the south/west boundary is proposed. The Air source heat pumps have been located in the warehouse yard to minimise any noise impact.
Q. Detail regarding Landscaping buffer to south/west boundary.
A. Introduction of enhanced landscaping is being developed by our landscape architects, that will screen the visibility of the development and the proposed acoustic fence from a south/western view point looking north/east across the site. The enhancement of landscaping throughout the site will support the overall ecology strategy with an ambition to replace every tree removed with two new trees.
Q. Adventure playground introduced within the woodland.
A. The layout of the adventure playground will be developed in conjunction with the project arboriculturist’s and ecologist’s recommendations to ensure that the proposals are integrated within and around existing trees of value, whilst also taking the opportunity to implement a management and re-planting regime to arrive at an overall improvement to the existing woodland.
Q. Concerns raised regarding the visibility and height of the main building.
A. Section drawings are being produced by the landscape architects to assess the visibility of the building from various angles around the site. Drawings will be available for the public consultation. The height of the building is driven by the requirement to position most of the plant equipment inside the main building and to achieve the required space for the warehouse section of the building.
Q. Concerns raised regarding the historic drainage issues to the south of the site that the enhanced development would negatively impact further.
A. Drainage is an important design detail that the civil engineers and working on with a sustainable, attenuated scheme that would hold back the ground water under the main car park and release in a managed flow. Further investigation is being undertaken regarding the discharge culvert including CCTV through and under the A325. A surface water attenuation basin would be formed in the location of an existing poor quality waterfowl pond in the lower south-eastern corner of the site. This would act to attenuate and cleanse surface water from the site before being released in a controlled manner. The basin would be seeded with a native meadow seed mix and managed to provide a species rich grassland.
Q. Concerns raised regarding the increased amount of artificial light to the south end of the site.
A. The car park lighting and perimeter building lights would be designed to meet dark skies compliance and shielded from spread into neighbouring properties/land. All artificial lights would be limited to operating hours.
Q. Confirmation requested regarding opening hours for the garden centre.
A. Mon to Sat 9am – 6pm, Sun 10.00am – 4.30pm with occasional 8pm closing in December.
Q. Concerns raised regarding delivery vehicles.
A. All delivery vehicles limited between operating hours of 8am to 6pm HGV delivery vehicles would be conditioned to Mon to Fri 8am to 6pm. All the deliveries take place in the service area away from the residential properties.
Q. Concerns raised regarding the location of the main Garden Centre building
A. The location of the garden centre is positioned to ensure the Birdworld site does not become substantially smaller than the existing attraction. The impact of established tree removal is as limited as possible in the proposed location. The Garden centre design matches our other sites to achieve level of trade and operational efficiencies which will help support the long-term viability of both Birdworld and Forest Lodge. The position of the unified roundabout entrance to access both car parks dictates the position of the garden centre, that also includes the required amount of car parking spaces and safe flow throughout.
Q. Security of the project being completed and/or turned into residential.
A. Haskins Group is a family owned business with a long term view on the sustainability of the business.
Q. The size of Garden Centre was questioned.
A. Details of size compared with existing and previously approved? See attached schedule. Internal sales now – 1,937. Approved – 5,197. Proposed – 2,797 ie 46% less than the approved. The main difference is in the area of covered plant sales; now – 1,489. Proposed 3,645
Q. Number of car parking spaces was questioned.
A. Forest Lodge: Current – 304, Approved - 400, Proposed - 430. Birdworld: Current - 350, Approved - 613, Proposed - 428.
Q. Traffic Flow with the introduction of the roundabout as raised (using Gravel Hill Road as a cut through)
A. Details regarding traffic flow using the roundabout will be submitted as part of the planning application. I-Transport will attend the public consultation to answer any technical questions.
Q. Concerns raised regarding the development's negative impact on surrounding property values.
A. It is very doubtful that property values will be negatively affected.
Q. How many jobs will be created and retained?
A. The long-term sustainable Birdworld protects 75+ jobs and the enhancement to the overall site should create approximately 30 additional FTE positions.
Q. Levels across the site?
A. The site falls gently from the south-western corner to the north-west corner by circa 6m. There is a more pronounced fall in level of circa 4m, down to the south-east corner, where the site adjoins the A325. In response to the falling ground levels, a retaining wall approximately 2m high along the southern extents of the car park and approximately 0.8m high along south-eastern extents of the car park would be required, to ensure car park gradients are within acceptable gradients for trolley use. The walls would be clad with pregrown ivy panels to provide a soft green interface with the A325.
Q. Bio-Diversity Net Gain?
A. The current landscape proposals (with some assumptions) result in a net gain of +14.22% in habitat units and +8.69% in hedgerow units.
Q. Opening for the new Adventure Play Area and Barn
A. Ambition for Spring/Summer 2025
Q. Number of Animals
A. There are 1,200 birds in the park and 250 species.
Q. Restaurant capacity
A. Proposed 450 internal and 200 external.
Notes: Conservation and Education are key elements to Birdworld in reference to the zoo license it holds.