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Date: 14 April 2014 Our ref: 115829 Your ref: P/2014/0141

Helen Addison, Senior Planning Officer PLACE and ENVIRONMENT Spatial Planning Torbay Council 2nd Floor, Electric House Castle Circus Torquay, TQ1 3DR BY EMAIL ONLY

Customer Services Hornbeam House Crewe Business Park Electra Way Crewe Cheshire CW1 6GJ T 0300 060 3900

Dear Helen, Consultation: Demolition of all existing holiday chalet units (185 total); existing facilities building; staff accommodation building; and two separate buildings used for storage on part of the Riviera Bay Holiday Park. Proposed development of 75 new self-catering holiday lodges; new ancillary management building including shop, cafe/bar and gym room; laying out of 194 car parking spaces to serve the redeveloped Holiday Park; and associated mitigation works including construction of a bat barn. Development of two residential properties (Use Class C3) at the corner of Douglas Avenue and Mudstone Lane, to be accessed from Mudstone Lane. This application is accompanied by an Environmental Statement Location: Riviera Bay Holiday Park, Mudstone Lane, Brixham, Devon Thank you for your consultation on the above dated 18 March 2014 which was received by Natural England on 18 March 2014. Thank you for agreeing to extend the deadline to our consultation response. For background please refer to our letters dated 22nd July 2013 (to Karen Lunan, BSG) and 10th October 2013. Natural England is a non-departmental public body. Our statutory purpose is to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced, and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development. The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended) The application site is within or in close proximity to a European designated site (also commonly referred to as Natura 2000 sites), and therefore has the potential to affect its interest features. European sites are afforded protection under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, as amended (the Habitats Regulations). In considering the European site interest, Natural England advises that you, as a competent authority under the provisions of the Habitats Regulations, should have regard for any potential impacts that a plan or project may have1. The Conservation objectives for each European site explain how the site should be restored and/or maintained and may be helpful in assessing what, if any, potential impacts a plan or project may have.
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Requirements are set out within Regulations 61 and 62 of the Habitats Regulations, where a series of steps and tests are followed for plans or projects that could potentially affect a European site. The steps and tests set out within Regulations 61 and 62 are commonly referred to as the Habitats Regulations Assessment process. The Government has produced core guidance for competent authorities and developers to assist with the Habitats Regulations Assessment process. This can be found on the Defra website. http://guidanceanddata.defra.gov.uk/habitatsregulations-assessments/

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OBJECTION - South Hams Special Area of Conservation The proposed development site is adjacent to the designated site boundary for the Berry Head South Hams Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and falls within a greater horseshoe bat sustenance zone2 and strategic flyway2 associated with the Berry Head SAC roost. Sustenance zones are key feeding and foraging areas for greater horseshoe bats associated with the South Hams SAC. In addition, research has shown that juvenile greater horseshoe bats (ENNR publications - NE) tend to forage within a 1km radius of the maternity roost. The 1km radius surrounding the Berry Head roost is subject to very limited foraging opportunities and it is likely that juveniles will be forced to seek safe foraging opportunities beyond this radius. The permanent loss of existing or potential habitat within the sustenance zone and in proximity to Berry Head has the scope to adversely affect the favourable conservation status of the Berry Head maternity colony. Strategic flyways are a key network of flight path zones connecting the component roosts of the South Hams SAC. The strategic flyways have been made 500 metres wide to provide a combination of alternative suitable routes. Flyways subject to a pinch point scenario are particularly susceptible to development pressure. Based upon radio-tracking evidence and surveys put forward by the applicant, the proposed development site falls within a pinch point2 due to the limited commuting opportunities for greater horseshoe bats moving between the Berry Head SAC roost and the surrounding countryside beyond Brixham. The greater horseshoe bat commuting habitat is highly constrained at this pinch point due the proximity of Riviera Bay Holiday Village to the coastal strip, with the narrow coastal path appearing to offer the key link between the roost and the surrounding countryside. There would appear to be no other viable alternative commuting routes between the Berry Head SAC roost and the surrounding countryside (key supporting habitats). In addition, the Information to Support the Habitats Regulations Assessment (section 3.8, BSG Ecology, January 2014) highlights the limitations associated with the existing commuting opportunities at this pinch point the commuting route between the roost and the open countryside to the west of Brixham is an exposed coastal strip which on windy nights would be energetically expensive to fly along. It is also worth bearing in mind that the coastal path could be subject to disturbance as a consequence of coastal erosion. The calcareous grassland associated with Berry Head is a notified SAC feature and supports many rare and local plants. In the Berry Head Conservation Management Plan 2007-2017 (Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust - TCCT), the impact of trampling and dog fouling has been highlighted as an important management issue. Based upon the information that has been submitted, we advise that the proposals will result in likely significant effects upon the greater horseshoe bat interest, and calcareous grassland associated with the South Hams SAC. Our concerns regarding the proposals and impacts upon greater horseshoe bats are outlined below:Greater horseshoe bats 1. Light impacts We are concerned that the light assessment put forward by Hoare LEA (January 2014) is both tentative and vague. Indeed, page 12 of the Illumination Impact Profile Riviera Bay Phase 2 (Hoare LEA, January 2014) states that As a detailed lighting design is not available at this stage, for the purposes of assessment typical lighting parameters have been developed. This would appear to add a degree of uncertainty regarding light impacts upon sensitive SAC supporting habitats for the greater horseshoe bat.

South Hams SAC Greater horseshoe bat consultation zone planning guidance (NE, 2010)

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We seek clarification regarding (*) In comparison to other lighting elements the following lighting arrangements are considered to have a relatively low use of light product (when designed in accordance to ILP guidance) and are not considered to be a significant contributor to obtrusive light impact to adjacent zones. These are not considered further or included within the lighting impact assessment. (Illumination Impact Profile Riviera Bay Phase 2; PART 2 Lighting Parameters; Hoare LEA January 2014). This caveat appears to relate to Building access, security & amenity lighting, Shop front and commercial lit signage, Building feature lighting, and Landscape feature lighting. We also query within the context of the pinch point location and the research carried out by Stone et al., 2012, why the threshold put forward by BSG Ecology for light disturbance on greater horseshoe bat activity is set at 1 lux. It is useful to bear in mind that a full moon equates to 0.5 lux (Hoare LEA, January 2014), and greater horseshoe bats will tend to avoid artificially lit environments. We understand that construction and demolition works will likely span 3 years (Environment Statement, Section 6.191, Alliance Planning, February 2014), and support proposals to carry out construction works during daylight hours (Environment Statement, Section 6.206 & 6.230, Alliance Planning, February 2014). However, we seek clarification regarding timing of demolition works in relation light spillage impacts, and the potential use of security lighting during both the demolition and construction phases. The proposals include the provision of 194 car parking spaces, the Environment Statement (Section 3.17, Alliance Planning, February 2014) makes reference to the use of landscape and fence screens to prevent detrimental light spillage where parked vehicles could result in headlights being directed towards the sea. In this instance and in the absence of details regarding the landscape and fencing screens put forward as a mitigation measure, we advise that an earth bund would be a more reliable and permanent feature that will be less susceptible to vandalism and/or hedge loss. This alternative approach will provide the certainty required to inform the corresponding Habitats Regulations Assessment. We note that many of the proposed new lodges will consist of a front facing the sea that includes 2 sliding double doors. The light assessment does not appear to have considered the possibility that both the sliding doors will be left open (e.g. on warm summer evenings) with the risk of detrimental light spillage upon the pinch point associated with the South Hams SAC greater horseshoe bat interest. In order to provide a robust assessment of light impact, we advise that Hoare LEA update their report to include this potential scenario.

2. Mitigation measures The potential mitigation strategy will only be considered sufficiently robust where delivery mechanisms are explicitly identified and secured in perpetuity through appropriate planning condition/obligation. Ecological mitigation and enhancements will need to be phased in advance of development works commencing in order to prevent short term detrimental impacts many habitats require a period of time to become established and to function effectively. Section 6.307 (Environment Statement, Alliance Planning, February 2014) makes reference to a Habitat Management Plan to inform the management regime for ecological and landscape features. In addition, a Construction and Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) needs to be put forward to provide clarity regarding measures that will be put in place during the construction and demolition phases. To provide a robust basis to conduct the Habitats Regulations Assessment, these supporting documents should be submitted for agreement in advance of a decision regarding the application in order to provide sufficient certainty regarding the proposed mitigation measures and phasing of works.

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The purpose of the Ecological Monitoring programme (Environment Statement, Alliance Planning, February 2014) needs to be clarified and linked to relevant details of the Habitat Management Plan and CEMP. To ensure that the mitigation measures are effective, we advise that the Ecological Monitoring programme is extended to reflect the time lag associated with habitat establishment and occupancy rates reaching capacity. The Ecological Monitoring programme should also include monitoring of habitat works e.g. review of mitigation/enhancement measures and how this relates to proposed phasing of works, hedgerow/scrub condition, light spillage data in relation to sensitive habitats (when lodge occupancy rates are likely to be high), etc. The monitoring reports and any remedial actions will need to be implemented in a timely fashion so as to prevent detrimental impacts upon greater horseshoe bat activity.

3. Insufficient information We seek clarification/supporting text for Figure 3 (BSG Ecology, 18 Nov 2013). Under section 6.188 (Environment Statement, Alliance Planning, February 2014) the fifth bullet point makes reference to planting works that do not appear on the corresponding planting plan (1of4, 09067 P.05.08, LHC, 21-1-2014). In addition, we failed to identify a proportion of the bullet points in this section. In order to facilitate interpretation of this important information, we advise that these bullet points are cross-referenced with annotation to a supporting map. Section 3.4 (Environment Statement, Alliance Planning, February 2014) states that the redevelopment of the site presents an opportunity to open up pedestrian routes to the coast We seek clarification regarding implications of these proposals upon both the calcareous grasslands and greater horseshoe bats associated with the South Hams SAC.

refer to access to the coast path


4. Pinch point The greater horseshoe bat commuting habitat is highly constrained at this pinch point due the proximity of Riviera Bay Holiday Village to the coastal strip, with the narrow coastal path appearing to offer the key link between the roost and the surrounding countryside. There would appear to be no other viable alternative commuting routes between the Berry Head SAC roost and the surrounding countryside (key supporting habitats). In addition, the Information to Support the Habitats Regulations Assessment (section 3.8, BSG Ecology, January 2014) highlights the limitations associated with the existing commuting opportunities at this pinch point the commuting route between the roost and the open countryside to the west of Brixham is an exposed coastal strip which on windy nights would be energetically expensive to fly along. Whilst we recognise the value of the mitigation measures put forward, we are concerned that the proposals fail to properly acknowledge the strategic value of the development site within the context of it being a vulnerable greater horseshoe bat SAC pinch point. On this basis, we recommend that the proposals provide alternative optimum commuting opportunities to provide resilience and reduce dependency upon the coastal path. Calcareous grassland Section 6.220 (Environment Statement, Alliance Planning, February 2014), appears to suggest that the existing holiday facilities are operating at full capacity. We query this assumption, and seek clarification regarding historic occupancy rates associated with Riviera Bay Holiday Park. We also note that the application is for occupation for 12 months of the year. To fully inform an assessment of recreational pressures, the seasonal historic occupancy rates needs to be compared with the projected occupancy rates as part of the proposed development.

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Lyme Bay and Torbay candidate Special Area of Conservation (cSAC) The proposed development is within proximity to Lyme Bay and Torbay cSAC, with potential for water pollution and recreational impacts upon by the notified features: reef habitats and submerged or partially submerged sea caves. We advise that the applicant provides further information in order to understand potential impacts upon Lyme Bay and Torbay cSAC. OBJECTION - Landscape The proposed development site falls within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and consequently, has the potential to adversely impact on the natural beauty of the South Devon AONB. We therefore suggest that you seek comments from the AONB Unit/Partnership with respect to landscape matters. We note that the Brixham Urban Fringe Landscape Study (Enderby Associates, September 2011) commissioned by the AONB, states Riviera Bay Holiday Park is located in a position where it restricts the coastal path to a very narrow corridor of some 2-5 metres in width. Further, this study makes specific recommendations for Riviera Bay Holiday Park Any redevelopment proposals should include drawing back from the cliffs and opening up the coastal corridor, and the planting of hedgerows to fringe the west side of the corridor to form a buffer to the AONB. The coastal corridor should be widened to a minimum of 50 metres to match the grain of the field boundary pattern in surrounding areas. Our concerns regarding the proposals and impacts upon the South Devon AONB are outlined below: It appears that only two photomontages have been put forward from one viewpoint. In addition, the focal length associated with the viewpoint photographs and the photomontages is not the same and therefore does not provide a good basis to allow comparison. To better understand visual impacts, we advise that further photomontages are provided from the relevant viewpoints to assist with the interpretation of impacts at both demolition/construction and operational phases. We were unable to locate the Landscape Strategy that was referenced within the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment we advise you seek clarification on this matter. Lack of consistency with the recommendations put forward in the Brixham Urban Fringe Landscape Study (Enderby Associates, September 2011) .

The doc refers to 'considerations'

Protected Species We have not assessed this application and associated documents for impacts on protected species. Natural England has published Standing Advice on protected species. The Standing Advice includes a habitat decision tree which provides advice to planners on deciding if there is a reasonable likelihood of protected species being present. It also provides detailed advice on the protected species most often affected by development, including flow charts for individual species to enable an assessment to be made of a protected species survey and mitigation strategy. You should apply our Standing Advice to this application as it is a material consideration in the determination of applications in the same way as any individual response received from Natural England following consultation. The Standing Advice should not be treated as giving any indication or providing any assurance in respect of European Protected Species (EPS) that the proposed development is unlikely to affect the EPS present on the site; nor should it be interpreted as meaning that Natural England has reached any views as to whether a licence may be granted. If you have any specific questions on aspects that are not covered by our Standing Advice for

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European Protected Species or have difficulty in applying it to this application please contact us at with details at consultations@naturalengland.org.uk. Biodiversity enhancements This application may provide opportunities to incorporate features into the design which are beneficial to wildlife. The authority should consider securing measures to enhance the biodiversity of the site from the applicant, if it is minded to grant permission for this application. This is in accordance with Paragraph 118 of the NPPF. Additionally, we would draw your attention to Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (2006) which states that Every public authority must, in exercising its functions, have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity. Section 40(3) of the same Act also states that conserving biodiversity includes, in relation to a living organism or type of habitat, restoring or enhancing a population or habitat. To ensure that the proposals are consistent with both NPPF (para 109 & 118) and NERC Act (2006), the ecological impact assessment should include an effective mitigation strategy (based upon an up-to-date quantitative biodiversity budget that provides a breakdown by habitat of losses/gains (in hectares/metres) and considers impacts at the various stages of the proposed development). Despite the sensitivities associated with the landscape and ecological context, we note that the proposals provide very limited scope for the provision of green infrastructure. We would be happy to comment further should the need arise but if in the meantime you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us. For any queries relating to the specific advice in this letter only please contact me on 0300 060 0456. For any new consultations, or to provide further information on this consultation please send your correspondences to consultations@naturalengland.org.uk. We really value your feedback to help us improve the service we offer. We have attached a feedback form to this letter and welcome any comments you might have about our service. Regards,

Julien
Julien Sclater Lead Adviser, Devon Sustainable Development Julien.R.Sclater@naturalengland.org.uk Please note that all consultation with Natural England should be sent to our Consultation Hub at consultations@naturalengland.org.uk or sent to the address at the top of this letter

Cc: Peter Roberts (TC); Robin Toogood (AONB); Mike Oxford (TC); Alexis Huggins (TC); Alex Scholefield (TCCT)

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