A site connected to nature
Our proposals for Great Notley East will include an abundance of open spaces and measures to preserve and enhance the landscape and natural environment.
Our goal is to create a masterplan and detailed scheme that will open up green spaces and the countryside so it is accessible both to those already living in Great Notley and Black Notley, as well as those in the new community at Great Notley East.
We will use the natural environment to help establish a place that is safe, inclusive and that promotes health and wellbeing. We will create areas of public open space so they can be used for both informal and formal recreation (including sports provision), wildlife, play areas and community allotments.
Although set within an arable landscape, the site includes a variety of habitats which provide opportunities for wildlife to flourish.
This includes a network of mature hedgerows, some mature trees and woodland blocks, which are interlaced with ponds and ditches.
We have been carrying out ecological surveys across the site since 2017 which has provided us with a wealth of information about the wildlife on site. This has helped us identify important species such as:
- Great crested newts;
- Common reptiles;
- The hazel dormouse; and
- A variety of bat species
There are opportunities to improve the site for wildlife including the retention, protection and enhancement of higher value habitats such as ponds, hedgerows and woodland. Ponds will be improved through clearance of overshading vegetation and planting of native bankside plants where possible. We will enhance the species diversity in woodland blocks through native planting and opening up of glades and woodland rides to encourage shade-intolerant species to establish as well as increase structural diversity, which will benefit woodland specialists such as hazel dormice.
By enhancing higher value habitats, we will protect the existing green corridors through the site. We will also create additional hedgerows and tree lines to expand this green corridor network. Low level lighting will ensure that green corridors remain dark, which will prevent fragmentation for species using these foraging and commuting corridors between woodlands and hedgerows within the site, and those off site. This will encourage new residents to use the local green spaces and explore the wider countryside. Within the site we will also include wildlife-friendly features such as wildflower meadows, rough grassland, habitat piles and bat/bird/bug boxes that will provide benefits for biodiversity.
We will help give people access to nature through retaining existing public rights of way such as the John Ray Walk and the creation of new footpaths. Information boards will be introduced along some of the footpaths to inform residents about the natural world around them.
More widely, we want the environment to play a part in every aspect of the site. We will use street trees to help define neighbourhoods, improve legibility along the main street as well as providing species diversity and creating an overall sense of a green and biodiverse place.