BIODIVERSITY PROJECT – KINGS GATE
Amesbury Town Council was contacted two years ago by Natural England in the hope that councillors would assist with a programme of biodiversity to create an essential corridor for rare, native butterflies to migrate between Porton Down and Salisbury Plain, enabling them to breed and thrive. Natural England had identified areas of chalk grassland at Kings Gate that would afford ideal habitat if planted and managed correctly. They offered professional expertise and believed that A303 legacy funding and involvement of the local community as volunteers would make the project possible.
The Butterfly Conservation Charity https://butterfly-conservation.org also expressed an interest in the project and local members are keen to help move it forward.
A report from Natural England compartmentalized the areas of interest for ease of management and this is illustrated in figure 1. Their recommendations: Mechanical management across all compartments. Estimated annual average cost circa £1,100 pa.
Natural England gave a preferred second management option, primarily using cattle/sheep grazing with some mechanical management in selected areas. Estimated annual average cost circa £1,800, with the possibility of agricultural and environmental support potentially generating between £1,520 and £5,200. Capital costs to provide required infrastructure estimated in the region of £60,000.
The advantages of this approach: Better biodiversity outcomes; an unobtrusive interest feature; more sustainable in terms of fossil fuel use; cheaper option if capital and revenue support is secured through grants.
Disadvantages: Capital outlay for stockproof fencing and other infrastructure (trough and water supply / field gate / styles for public access); liability of checking stock daily; restrictions for dog walking – estimated 4 weeks of the year.
The areas that would be fenced for grazing are 5 and 6. Note, the dog walking area and disc golf area would not be grazed and access to these areas will not be affected by the programme, other than additional planting, and they will remain as open public recreation facilities.
Due to financial implications, advice from Natural England at the time was to manage the land mechanically and to move to grazing if and when funds could be secured for optimum biodiversity success.
The community contribution from the developer at the transfer of land is a finite amount and would ideally help to pay for land management over a 10-year period. We have already experienced the need to replace fencing, plant hedging, secure gateways, and prevent unlawful encampments, all of which detracts from the provision of a diverse habitat for wildlife.
The Town Council was independently approached by a local farmer – Morrison & King Ltd – volunteering to manage the land on behalf of the Town, using grazing methods where appropriate. Their past/current experience in working on biodiversity projects with the National Trust, English Heritage and the MoD was considered. They have successfully supported Natural England in applying for capital grants from the A303 Stonehenge Legacy Fund to cover all costs, thus requiring no outlay from the Town Council’s budget and therefore with no cost to the taxpayer through the Precept. This funding will be directly invested in the land and is dependent on the project going ahead.
The Legal Aspect: The area of land in question is owned by the Town Council, apart from the calcareous grassland, still owned by Bloor Homes. The developer is happy to transfer the land earlier than planned, to enable us to proceed in a timely manner. We are waiting to hear from Wiltshire Council regarding their support of the land transfer.
The S.106 legal agreement (between Bloor Homes and Wiltshire Council, with Amesbury Town Council as the end user) states that the transfer includes covenants on the part of the transferee with the Owner that the Calcareous Grassland is not to be used for any other purpose than as Calcareous Grassland for the benefit of wildlife with the exception of informal public access to the extent it is compatible with the above purpose. It is believed that management of the land by Morrison & King on our behalf will satisfy this covenant.
The Natural Environment and Communities Act 2006 s.40 imposes a duty on local councils to consider conserving biodiversity in exercising its functions. The Town Council is pleased to be able to actively carry out this duty.
The Town Council has resolved to now discuss terms of a tenancy agreement with Morrison & King that will lead to the success of the project whilst ensuring the continuity – and enhancement – of public facilities that exist in this area. It is envisaged that public involvement will be forthcoming, residents and local schools will be actively encouraged to engage with this exciting, proposed project.
If you have any queries or objections, or wish to voice your support, please do so by contacting the Town Council in the following ways:
By telephone: 01980 622999
By letter: Amesbury Town Council, The Bowman Centre, Shears Drive, Amesbury, Wilts, SP4 7XT
Please include your name and contact details, as the Town Council cannot respond to anonymous representation.
To view a short video on the progress of the building work at the Amesbury History Centre, please click: https://www.facebook.com/104825811313517/videos/400005824449482
Thank you to Councillor Mark Verbinnen for the photos and videos.
Highways and Drainage Remedial Works
Princess Way, Kings Gate, Amesbury
As you are probably aware, we are well overdue to undertake the remedial works plus surfacing along the whole length of Princess Way, the extent of works starts at the junction with Penny Lane and will continue down to the junction with Muggleton Road, the first set of works we will undertake will be to replace damaged pipework to the drainage system, near the junction of Penny Lane, this will require deep excavation works to access the damaged pipes.
Inclusive within these works is the provision for a bus stop facility, as required under planning, which is to be located next to the open space area just before the junction with Muggleton Road, this will form part of the bus route within the development.
The scope of works is as follows:
We are looking to start the above works on Monday 19th October 2020, starting with the drainage works, however our ground workers will look to undertake some prep work during week commencing 12th October 2020, this will include general site set up, the total duration for these works will be approximately 8 weeks.
Can I request that no cars are parked along Princess Way during the course of these works, if this request is ignored then we will not be able to complete the works, however our ground workers will be in attendance on site to assist anyone wishing to gain access along Princess Way at anytime.
There will be similar works required along Archers Way between the new care home and our new development which has just started, this will start possibly early in the new year, again, letter drops will be undertaken come nearer the time, this will also include the completion of the Service Road which forms the access to the Cricket Pavillion.
In addition to the above works I would also like to update you on the following:
Once we have completed both Princess Way and Archers Way and got these both onto maintenance then we will look to start remedial works to Phase 1 (Great Amber Way/Archers Way) and Phase 2 (Goldthorp Avenue/Witan Drive), these will happen sometime during late Spring 2021, again, we will undertake letter drops come nearer the time.
A303 River Avon bridge repairs
Highways England operates, maintains and improves England’s motorways and major A roads. I’m writing to let you know about works in your area.
The bridge which carries the A303 over the River Avon (to the east of Countess roundabout) is in need of repair ahead of our Amesbury to Berwick Down improvement scheme. We’ll carry out concrete repairs, replace the bridge bearings and joints and finally replace surfacing and lining. The majority of work will be carried out under lane closures. However full overnight closures will be in place for bearing and joint replacement. We’ll work overnight when traffic flows are at their lowest and both directions of travel will be affected. Please accept our apologies in advance for any disruption this may cause.
Start – 19 October 2020
End – 26 March 2021
• Eastbound – Lane 1 will be closed 24/7 for the duration of the works back to the single carriageway section, but will be re-opened for the Christmas getaway period.
• Westbound – Lane 1 will be closed overnight Monday to Friday from 8pm in the evening to 6am the following morning; 20 October to 27 November 2020.
Full overnight road closures will be in place from 8pm in the evening to 6am the following morning on the following dates –
o 04 Jan 2021,
o 1 & 2 March 2021
o 10,11,12,15,16 March 2021
o 26 March 2021
o 10 Feb 2021
o 4,5,8,9 March 2021
Locally signed diversions will be in place.
We always aim to work to the programme, however unforeseen circumstances or adverse weather may mean changes to it. We’ll keep you updated of changes in the programme via advance roadside warning signs. For up to date information on all our closures, please follow us on Twitter at @HighwaysSWEST alternatively please visit www.trafficengland.com
Amesbury Town Council will be re-opening the public toilets located in the Central Car Park as from tomorrow (Friday 21st May 2020).
Monday to Saturday - 8am to 5pm
Sundays & Bank Holidays - 10am to 4pm
At the Annual Meeting of Amesbury Town Council held on Thursday 14th May 2020 via Zoom, Councillor Rhod Evans was duly elected as Mayor of Amesbury 2020/21. At the same meeting Councillor Philip Osment was duly elected as Deputy Mayor of Amesbury 2020/21
Due to the current Coronavirus Pandemic, chains of office will be completed privately and photos taken when it is safe to meet.
Cllr Rhod Evans Cllr Philip Osment
Report from MoD Boscombe Down
No late night or unusual activity has been reported.
You will appreciate that timings and plan do change but this is our current plan.
Further information on Military Low Flying can be found on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/low-flying-in-your-area
Amesbury Town Council
The Bowman Centre
Phone: 01980 622999