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Planning Application submitted for new ecological resource in Criftins, Ellesmere, Shropshire.


Planning Application for the creation of a new ecological resource in Criftins Ellesmere submitted to Shropshire County Council and apporved in November 2022.

This project is owned and run by En-Plan in order to develop both an ecological resource for wildlife and the creation of a  new apple orchard to create a small scale agricultural resource.  We are bringing to bear our experience in the development field to create a development that gives back to the environment as a whole.  The scheme upon completion will be open to local community groups for use and will provide enhancement to the immediate locality.

The site is located just outside of Dudleston Heath (also referred to as Criftins) which is a village in north-west Shropshire, England. It is located on the B5068 road between Ellesmere and St Martin's and is part of Ellesmere Rural Civil parish. The Wales-England is border is located just to the north.

The village consists of a local post office (now situated inside the Parish Hall), and a working men's club, in addition to the Parish Hall. The main source of income in the area is farming which provides jobs for many people of the local area. The reason for the high amount of farming is that the majority of land in the area is taken up by fields and the high clay content in the ground provides minerals for the growth of crops. Others from the community commute to nearby towns such as Ellesmere, Oswestry or Shrewsbury as the village is served by the 53 bus route stopping outside the Parish Hall.​

Criftins is a small hamlet located near the town of Ellesmere in Shropshire, England. While there isn't an extensive recorded history specifically about Criftins, I can provide you with some information about the general history of Ellesmere, which might give you some insight into the area.

Ellesmere is a historic market town in Shropshire that dates back to medieval times. The town is situated on the Shropshire Union Canal and has a number of glacial lakes, including the famous and picturesque Ellesmere Lake, also known as "The Mere."

In the Domesday Book of 1086, Ellesmere is mentioned as "Ellesmera" and was listed as having a mill and a church. Over the centuries, Ellesmere developed as a market town, benefiting from its strategic location along trade routes and the presence of the canal. The town's economy relied on agriculture, with farming and related industries playing a significant role in the local economy.

During the Industrial Revolution, the advent of the canal and later the railway further boosted Ellesmere's growth. The canal facilitated the transportation of goods, and the railway provided improved connectivity to other parts of the country. These developments contributed to the expansion of industries such as malting, brewing, and milling.

Ellesmere also has historical connections to the local iron industry. The nearby village of Wootton, just a couple of miles from Criftins, was an important center for iron production during the 18th and 19th centuries. The area had abundant supplies of iron ore, and several ironworks were established there.

In terms of Criftins itself, it is likely that the hamlet has a similar history to the surrounding area, with its residents being primarily involved in agriculture or related activities. Unfortunately, due to the limited available information about Criftins specifically, it's challenging to provide a more detailed account of its history.

If you are looking for more specific information about Criftins or any particular aspects of Ellesmere's history, it may be helpful to consult local archives, historical societies, or libraries in the area, as they might have more detailed records or accounts related to Criftins and its development over time.

The challenges facing En-Plan with the and are the position of the land outside of the development boundary for Criftins which for agriculture does not present an issue but for dispersed commercial or residential development this would prove to be an issue as it would go against the adopted planning policy for Shropshire. However, adopted policy supports the creation of new ecological assets and benefits from Central Government support.

En-Plan have worked with Design with Nature to create a landscaping plan for a new ecological resource and apple orchard that will allow for the land to create a resource for both animals and humans in the environment and the food that will be created on the land. 

The planning application was subsequently submitted to Shropshire County Council Planning Department and in particular the northern team that covers Ellesmere and was formerly the North Shropshire Council area prior to Shropshire becoming a unitary authority.

The site is surrounding by open fields, small pockets of woodland and pondswith a small area of woodland immediately abutting the site to the east. A public footpath runs along the north boundary of the site. There are no near neighbouring properties.

Principle of development

Policy MD2 (2 iv) is particularly supported of development proposals which contribute to and respect locally distinctive or valued character and existing amenity value by:

‘iv. Enhancing, incorporating or recreating natural assets in accordance with


Details of Proposal

The application seeks planning consent for the creation of an irregular shaped pond to the southern half of the site with a central island to provide a refuge for wild birds and to be surrounded by reeds. Sections through the
proposed pond have been submitted with the application. A track is shown leading from the north edge of the site to a maintenance access incorporating a turning head adjacent to the pond. In the event of the application being approved details of the proposed surfacing material would be required to be submitted for approval to ensure that this is suitable to its rural context. Orchard planting is proposed either side of the access track. The site plan also shows small areas of natural woodland mix to the north and west of the pond. To the south west an existing sward is to be improved through the introduction of Yellow Rattle and other wildflower species; to the south east of the pond is a proposed osier bed. Hedgerow is proposed to be planted along the northern boundary. Disturbed areas are proposed to be sown with wildflower mix.

Clarification was requested from the applicant as to who the intended users of the site would be and whether the intention was for this to be used as a demonstration wild garden and pond related to any form of commercial landscaping business. The applicant has responded that the land has always been agricultural and is to remain so and for personal use only. There are plans to keep bees on the site in the future, once the applicant has completed a beekeeping course, in order to help with the pollination of the apple trees and any wildflowers so as to add to the ecological value of the site. In response to the concerns that the planting on a hedge along the western boundary might impede access for stream and bankside maintenance by the
relevant water companies and or their contractors the applicant has indicated his willingness for this to be removed from the scheme and as shown on the revised landscape plan (0001 Rev 2)


Rights of Way

The Council’s Rights of Way team have assessed applications against the Definitive map of Public Rights of Way and has confirmed that footpath 40 will run along the same line as the proposed access into the area. Although the footpath isn’t being built on it needs to be taken into account at all times both during and after development and the applicants will need to adhere to the criteria stipulated below:
- The right of way must remain open and available at all times and the public must be allowed to use the way without hindrance both during development and afterwards
- Building materials, debris, etc must not be stored or deposited on the
right of way.
· There must be no reduction of the width of the right of way.
· The alignment of the right of way must not be altered.
- The surface of the right of way must not be altered without prior consultation with this office; nor must it be damaged.
- No additional barriers such as gates or stiles may be added to any part of the right of way without authorisation. The surface of these public rights of way are the responsibility of Shropshire Council, as the Highway Authority, insofar as the public rights are concerned. The Council has a duty to maintain up to their recorded status (i.e. Footpath – on foot; Bridleway – on foot, by horse and bicycle) but no duty to improve.


Additional information was required in relation to Great Crested Newts in order to ensure that the proposal will not cause an offence under the 2017 Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (as amended). An Ecological Impact Assessment of the land in and surrounding the proposed development and a discussion of any potential impacts resulting from the development, including biodiversity net gain was therefore required
to be submitted in support of the application to consist of the following:
• An Extended Phase 1 habitat survey, habitat map and target notes on any significant biodiversity or geological features.
• A desk study of historical species records and local, regional or national wildlife designated sites.
• Supplementary detailed surveys (phase 2 habitat surveys, protected or priority species or geological features as appropriate to the site – including those described
• Evaluation of the importance of biodiversity or geological features present at a local, regional, national, international level.
• Analysis of the direct and indirect impacts of the development (during construction, working area, additional infrastructure and post construction).
• Proposed avoidance, mitigation or compensation measures, including method statements where appropriate.
• Legal implications such as the need for European Protected Species Mitigation Licences or other licences (e.g. badgers).
• Proposed biodiversity or geodiversity enhancement measures.


Great crested newts -
Great Crested Newts typically have a maximum routine migratory range of 250m from breeding waterbodies during terrestrial phases (Cresswell and Whitworth, 2004). A review of OS maps and satellite images indicated that there are a few ponds within 250m of the site and located north-east of the site respectively, with potential for Great Crested Newts. Any ponds within 250m of a minor planning application should be assessed
in terms of their broad suitability to support Great Crested Newts by carrying out a Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) assessment. If any waterbody is regarded as being suitable then it will be necessary to carry out a
presence/absence survey for Great Crested newts. The ecologist should make recommendations as to whether a European Protected Species Licence with respect to Great Crested Newts would be necessary and the need for a mitigation scheme and/or precautionary method statement.

The Shropshire Core Strategy contains in Policy CS17: Environmental Network provision for mapping and subsequently protecting, maintaining, enhancing and restoring Environmental Networks in the county in line with the recommendations of both The Lawton Review and the National Planning Policy Framework. This proposed development site lies within the Environmental Network. As such, the proposed scheme must clearly demonstrate how the development will ‘promote the conservation, restoration and enhancement of priority
habitats and ecological networks’ as required by paragraph 174 of the National Planning Policy Framework and provide a net gain in biodiversity. Further to the submission of the The Ecological Appraisal carried out by
Greenscape Environmental (September 2022) the Council’s Planning Ecologist has reviewed the information and plans submitted in association with the application and is satisfied with the survey work carried out.


Ecology Issues


The Council ecologist pointed to the presence of Great Crestred Newst in the area and it should be noted that t

he great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) is a protected species in many countries, including the United Kingdom, where it is listed as a European Protected Species. There are several reasons why the great crested newt is protected:

  1. Rarity and Decline: Great crested newts are considered rare and have experienced significant declines in their populations due to habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation. Protecting them helps ensure their conservation and prevents further declines.

  2. Habitat Requirements: Great crested newts have specific habitat requirements. They rely on a range of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, including ponds, wetlands, and nearby terrestrial areas for foraging and shelter. Protecting their habitats ensures they have suitable places to breed, feed, and hibernate.

  3. Biodiversity Importance: Great crested newts are an important part of the ecosystem and contribute to biodiversity. As amphibians, they serve as indicators of the health of ecosystems and can reflect the overall state of their habitats. Protecting them helps preserve the ecological balance and overall biodiversity.

  4. Legal Obligations: The great crested newt is protected by national and international legislation. For example, in the UK, it is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. These legal protections aim to ensure the conservation and sustainable management of the species and its habitats.

  5. International and European Union Obligations: Great crested newts are also protected under international agreements and directives. For instance, they are listed under the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (also known as the Bern Convention) and the European Union's Habitats Directive. These agreements require member states to take measures to conserve and protect the species.

It's important to note that specific regulations and conservation measures may vary between countries and regions. If you have further questions about the protection of great crested newts in a particular location, it is recommended to consult local conservation authorities or environmental agencies, as they can provide more specific information based on the local context.

The appraisal found the site to offer moderate value terrestrial habitats for newts. No further surveys were recommended. Mitigation and enhancement measures have been recommended with regards to great crested newts. These will be strictly adhered to. SC ecology require biodiversity net gains at the site in accordance with the NPPF and CS17. The installation of bat and bird boxes and a hibernaculum will enhance the site for wildlife by providing additional roosting habitat. Conditions and informatives are recommended for inclusion on the decision decision notice should the application be approved.

Drainage Issues

The drainage issues have been approved by the Councils drainage officer but the issue facing En-Plan at present is the presence or suspected presence of Great Crested Newts in the locality and more survey work has been requested by Shropshire County Council Ecologists. Further to the submission of the The Ecological Appraisal carried out by Greenscape Environmental (September 2022) the Council’s Planning Ecologist has reviewed the information and plans submitted in association with the application and is satisfied with the survey work carried out. The appraisal found the site to offer moderate value terrestrial habitats for
newts. No further surveys were recommended. Mitigation and enhancement measures have been recommended with regards to great crested newts.

Planning Permission was subsequentley granted in November 2022 with a pre-commencement condition requiring details of the surfacing for the access track to be submitted and approved in writing prior to the commencement of development on sit.  En-Plan will provide the necessary details and are well versed in discharging planning conditions as can be seen by our dedicated page showing our expertise in this area of the planning process.


Further  conditons were added with conditon number four requiring the following:

Prior to first use of the site, the makes, models and locations of bat and bird boxes
shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
The following boxes shall be erected on the site:
- A minimum of 2 external woodcrete bat boxes or integrated bat bricks, suitable for
nursery or summer roosting for small crevice dwelling bat species.
- A minimum of 1 artificial nests, of external box design, suitable for wren (Schwegler
1ZA Roundhouse).
- A minimum of 1 artificial nests, of external box design, suitable for robin (Schwegler
2H Robin box).
- A minimum of 1 artificial nests, of external box design (Schwegler 1b bird box).
- A minimum of 1 hibernaculum following the recommendations of section 6.6.2 of the
Ecological Appraisal (Greenscape Environmental, September 2022).
The boxes shall be sited in suitable locations, with a clear flight path and where they
will be unaffected by artificial lighting. The boxes shall thereafter be maintained for the
lifetime of the development.
Reason: To ensure the provision of roosting and nesting opportunities, in accordance
with MD12, CS17 and section 175 of the NPPF.

En-Plan look forward to working in conjunction with Shropshire County Council Planning Department to provide the scheme for the provisojn of bat boxes and wher eapplicable use Gtreenscape Ecology to assist with the exact detail in order to ensure they are provided in the optimal positions in porderr to discharge planning conditions.

If you would like to find out more about how our Planning Consultancy and Architectural Design Services can work in perfect sync to achieve a successful outcome in the planning system please CONTACT US and we will be only too happy to talk through any questions or development proposals you may have.


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