In order to get the proposed development right, important technical matters will need to be addressed. This will ensure that no harmful environmental impacts arise from the development, and that suitable measures can be put in place to protect the local area, local residents and the environment.
The former golf course has been disused for 20 years and has become overgrown with dense areas of bramble scrub and self-seeded trees. A Preliminary Ecology Appraisal of the site has been undertaken. This makes several recommendations for biodiversity enhancement on site as part of the landscaping strategy, including habitat creation for reptiles, hedgehogs, and new bird boxes for barn/tawny owls. Bat-friendly lighting will also be incorporated into the designs.
The Ecology Appraisal recommendations have informed the layout and design of the site, which includes a wildlife corridor along the southern and western site boundaries, along with the retention of existing trees along this pathway and/or the plantation of species rich hedgerows. In addition to this, the development proposal would also retain two notable trees – a mature small-leaved lime and a common ash, and a selection of other trees will be kept across the site; along with areas of grassland. As such, there are sufficient landscape measures proposed to enhance the biodiversity of the site, and the development proposals would not result in harm to protected species or their habitats.
These recommendations have informed the layout and design of the site, which includes a wildlife corridor along the southern and western site boundaries. The wildlife corridor would be created using the dead wood piles – as habitat creation – along with the retention of existing trees along this pathway and/or plantation of species rich hedgerows. As such, there are sufficient landscape measures proposed to enhance the biodiversity of the site, and the development proposals would not result in harm to protected species or their habitats.
An Air Quality Assessment has been undertaken and forms part of the planning application. This sets out proposed measures to mitigate impacts on air quality, during both the construction and lifetime phases of the development. This will be supported by the measures set out in the Travel Plan which has also been submitted with the application and encourage non-car travel options by residents.
Flooding and Drainage
A Flood Risk Assessment and Drainage Strategy has been prepared and forms part of the planning application. It confirms that the site is wholly located within the Environment Agency’s Flood Zone 1 (an area at lowest risk of flooding).
There is some existing surface water flood risk associated with an old watercourse valley, however the detailed drainage strategy for the site will deliver significant betterment to the existing situation. However, overland flow routing has been modelled to ensure the proposed development remains safe and does not increase flood risk either upstream or downstream of the site.
The principles of the Drainage Strategy have been discussed with the Lead Local Flood Authority [LLFA], with on-site drainage proposals designed to restrict the discharge into the receiving ditch to minimise and in fact lessen the impact of the site on the surrounding area and existing drainage infrastructure.
Surface water runoff will be safely stored utilising above and below ground storage on site during rainfall events based on a 1 in 100yr event (including an additional 40% allowance for climate change). Sustainable drainage techniques will be utilised, which also offers many environmental benefits and provides amenity value to the proposed public open space.
A Heritage Assessment has been undertaken which confirms that the development proposal would not result in an adverse impact on the significance of nearby heritage assets, such as the Ernesford Grange Scheduled Monument, the Listed Buildings or Conservation Areas.
The assessment is accompanied by an archaeological investigation of the site which was undertaken in January 2021 and involved the excavation of two trenches. This work was undertaken to investigate a faint sub-circular cropmark which had been recorded from aerial imagery.
The evaluation recorded no below-ground archaeological features corresponding to the cropmark. The evaluation did not record evidence for significant truncation associated with the 20th-century development of the site, although only a very small area of the wider proposed development site was tested by the trenches. The evaluation report has been submitted to Coventry City Council.
Highways and Transport
The site is located within an established residential area, ensuring that local amenities are easily accessible by future residents. The site will include new footpaths and cycleways to connect into the existing pedestrian and cycle network to ensure that local journeys can easily be undertaken on foot or by cycle. Bus stops, convenience stores, primary schools and supermarkets are located within walking distance of the site.
A new four-arm mini roundabout at the junction of Siddeley Avenue and Armstrong Avenue will form the primary access point, serving the majority of development. The roundabout design will be delivered to the latest highway design requirements, working closely with Coventry City Council highways teams. An extension to the existing Sphinx Drive will form a secondary access point, serving a small parcel of the development site. There will be no vehicular link between the two access points, however, pedestrian, cycle and emergency vehicle connectivity will be ensured.
The potential for an additional pedestrian/cycle only access to the south will be explored through the application process. A detailed Transport Assessment will be produced as part of a planning application in line with current government and local policy guidance. This report will assess the highway safety and capacity of the surrounding highway network to mitigate against any negative impact from the proposed development.
Noise and Vibration
Certain parts of the site are potentially affected by noise from sporting activity at the Sphinx Sports Club grounds, and also by plant and entertainments noise from activities at the existing Social Club buildings. As a result, a detailed Noise Survey and Assessment has been undertaken at the site and submitted as part of the planning application.
The Noise Assessment sets out appropriate mitigation measures to ensure that residents of the proposed development will not be adversely impacted by any potential noise sources. These include providing acoustic ventilation to habitable rooms of relevant properties, installing a 2.5-metre-high barrier fence to the site perimeter in those locations where the gardens of houses are proximate to sports pitches, and the proposed MUGA and skatepark area.
The noise mitigation measures are intended to be agreed with Coventry City Council as part of a subsequent Reserved Matters planning application.