Decision Maker: Environment Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Principal Landscape and Project Officer introduced the report to the Committee. The report provided detail on the project to be undertaken in Bersted to create a country park and sought approval for the scope of the project. The Council was procuring the services of a landscape consultant to advise on and produce a masterplan for public consultation.
Members then took part in a question-and-answer session, summarised below.
One Member had various concerns and said that Bersted Brooks was currently a nature reserve and turning it into a country park would be completely different. He felt consultation should have taken place with the relevant community groups prior to getting to this stage, to establish whether it was a good idea from an environmental perspective. There was concern as to whether sustainability had been considered; how the access would be improved; and the impact of anti-social behaviour that the report suggested may increase in the area. The Chair explained that these were all good points, but the project needed to be scoped out before consultation could take place, and it was then that the answers to these points would be looked at. The Group Head of Environment and Climate Change explained they were aware of the huge habitat potential and this along with other environmental factors, would be respected in the proposals going forward. It may be that certain areas would be off-limits to the public and set aside for wildlife entirely. Full consultation would take place, first with stakeholders then with the wider public.
Consideration should be given to how the country park would be made accessible for everyone whilst working in harmony with nature. The access getting in and out would need to be improved and transport links should be considered.
It was felt the area should not be urbanised at all, and car travel to the site should be kept to a minimum. A minibus to transport people to the site may provide a solution to this.
Other Members agreed that the project needed to be scoped prior to consultation taking place.
The recommendation was proposed by Councillor Bicknell and seconded by Councillor Goodheart.
That the scope of the Bersted Country Park project, as set out in Appendix 1, be approved.
Publication date: 01/12/2022
Date of decision: 17/11/2022
Decided at meeting: 17/11/2022 - Environment Committee