Plans to build 115 homes in a field at Easton on the Hill have been rejected partly due to the impact additional dog poo would have had on the nearby rare nature reserve.
Fears the limestone grassland and rare plants at Collyweston Quarries Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve would have been damaged by the nutrients contained in dog faeces led to councillors on East Northants Council’s planning committee refusing the development last night (Jul 11).
The Wildlife Trust had objected to the development because new homes in the area would have led to more dog walkers using the popular reserve.
A report said: “The correct management is crucial part of maintaining calcareous grasslands like Collyweston Quarries Site of Special Scientific Interest. Careful grazing using sheep and cattle at the right densities and at the right time of the year is required to ensure that the site remains in good condition.
“While we welcome people to our nature reserves to enjoy wildlife, the impact of visitor numbers has to be carefully managed to ensure that the wildlife that people come to see is not negatively affected.
“Dog fouling is also a particular problem on calcareous grasslands because they are naturally very low in nutrients. Dog mess introduces nutrients to the soil which introduces in coarser plants out competing many of the rare ones.”
The site is home to the rare plant Dyer’s Greenweed and Pyramidal Orchid. The report said dogs have also recently been killed by livestock in the area.
The plan was being proposed by Jowson Mowat Planning Ltd, which wanted to create a main street, secondary streets and green lanes.
Twenty-one nearby homes and the parish councils at Collyweston, Ketton and Easton on the Hill had all objected to the plans. They said it conflicted with existing planning policies which only permit infill development rather than development outside the village boundary.
Cllr Andy Mercer said the proposed development site was high quality agricultural land and should be the last area of the village to be developed. He also agreed that the additional dog mess would damage the nature reserve.
He said: “If you are going to put 115 dwellings into Easton on the Hill, this is not where you put them.”
East Northants Council planning officers had recommended that the scheme was refused.
A planning officer said: “While we note the social and economic benefits of the scheme this does not outweigh the harm.”
The application was unanimously refused at the meeting held at the council offices in Cedar Drive.