Slow worm friendly housing scheme near Chelmsford gets green light

Land partly owned by Chelmsford City Council has been given the go ahead for the development of 42 homes.

Land south of the Brewers Arms on Main Road, Bicknacre, had already been an allocated site in the Chelmsford Local Plan.

The application from Promount Ltd encompasses a slightly larger site than the allocation which allows for an increase in the number of units.

The extra area of land, owned by the city council, is to be used as a habitat for slow worms that are thriving in the area.

The development would provide 35 per cent affordable housing. Nine of the 15 affordable housing units are to be available for local housing needs on initial lets.

The site is currently a habitat for slow worms, which are a protected species. The slow worms will need to be translocated under licence and a receptor site adjacent to the development site has been secured.

Ward councillor Richard Poulter said: “I particularly welcome affordable housing within the village  – I have no problem with the increase from 35 to 42.

“We have very little affordable housing within the village.”

With long, smooth, shiny, grey or brown bodies, slow worms look very similar to tiny snakes. In fact they are legless lizards and are quite harmless.

Although found throughout mainland Britain, they are most common in Wales and south-west England.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter