Plans for wild animals on 100-home development

Some common spotted orchids at the Foxley Park site will be moved but others will be left where they are. 

Some common spotted orchids at the Foxley Park site will be moved but others will be left where they are. - Credit: Supplied by Persimmon

Bats, insects and hedgehogs are to encouraged onto a new housing estate in Dereham as its developer attempts to "go green".

Persimmon said it had drawn up a "comprehensive biodiversity plan" for the Foxley Park project, which will consist of around 100 homes on land east of Westfield Road in Toftwood.

The Foxley Park development is to be built on land between Westfield Road and Rash's Green in Derheam.

The Foxley Park development is to be built on land between Westfield Road and Rash's Green in Derheam. - Credit: Google StreetView

The proposals include 29 bird-nesting and 14 bat-roosting features, two insect nesting features, hedgehog boxes and habitat piles.

Trees and hedgerows will also be planted and a drainage basin will be dug, which could attract more wildlife.   

John Eldridge, managing director of Persimmon Homes Anglia, said: “The Foxley Park development offers us the opportunity to enhance the biodiversity of the site as well as protecting existing features of ecological value during construction.

John Eldridge, managing director of Persimmon Homes Anglia

John Eldridge, managing director of Persimmon Homes Anglia. - Credit: Supplied by John Eldridge

“In addition to the range of ecological features, two wildlife interpretation boards will be installed to inform residents and users of the open space areas of the measures to protect and enhance biodiversity within the development.”

Bat roosts built into walls could be part of the new Foxley Park development in Dereham.

Bat roosts built into walls could be part of the new Foxley Park development in Dereham. - Credit: Supplied by Persimmon


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One area of common spotted orchid grassland will be left where it is, but another area will be moved to a "safe space" near the planned drainage basin, where wildflower-rich grassland will also be planted.

Fences in the site will include holes or gaps to allow hedgehogs to move around to feed, while the planned bird boxes will - hopefully - provide a home for house sparrows, swifts and house martins.

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Cambridge-based ecologist Dr Matthew Denny created the biodiversity plan for the estate. 

Dr Denny said: “The biodiversity management plan has been prepared to ensure that opportunities for enhancement are realised, whilst protecting existing features of ecological value."

Ecologist Dr Matthew Denny.

Ecologist Dr Matthew Denny. - Credit: Supplied by Dr Denny

John Eldridge, managing director of Persimmon Homes Anglia

John Eldridge, managing director of Persimmon Homes Anglia. - Credit: Supplied by John Eldridge

Dereham Town Council expressed its disappointment about the Foxley Park scheme after Breckland's planning committee gave it the green light in February.

At the time,  town clerk Tony Needham said an "honest mistake" led to the town missing out on a £220,000 sum which should have been provided by Persimmon for an off-site outdoor sports space, in line with an agreement with Breckland.

Michelle Baker, Persimmon sales director, said: “Dereham is ideally placed for anyone commuting into Norwich but, at the same time, it retains that relaxed, rural feel for those who like to get away from all the hustle and bustle.”

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