Plans for the creation of c.12 hectares of greenspace at Hicks Farm in Throop are moving forward with residents invited to attend two preliminary public exhibitions in September to help shape and inform the next stage of BCP Council’s planning application.
Proposals for Hicks Farm, which had previously been used primarily for private grazing, include a change of use to an attractive natural greenspace, creating a network of new paths, access to a stretch of the River Stour, new tree planting and the reinstatement of hedgerows to improve wildlife habitats. It will also include a new 20 space car park.
As part of the plans, land is being converted into a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) to offset the impact that new developments in the town centre, including the Winter Gardens Development, have on protected heathland habitats. SANG’s have been designed to provide an attractive environment to encourage passive recreational uses including walking, cycling and dog walking.
The Hicks Farm SANG will be funded from financial contributions collected from local developments and will include ecological, topographical and tree surveys as well as transport and flood risk assessment work. In addition to providing enhanced recreational opportunities, this new space will also enable people to improve their health and wellbeing by enjoying the great outdoors.
Councillor Felicity Rice, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change commented “This proposal at Hicks Farm will create an area of natural greenspace that can be enjoyed by the whole community. Encouraging people to go outside and explore their local area helps to promote more active, healthier lifestyles whilst caring for our environment and has a low carbon footprint. The reinstatement of the hedgerows which will lead to improved wildlife habitats, highlights the creation of an attractive space that will have a positive impact on both the local community and the local wildlife.”
The public exhibitions will provide residents with an opportunity to have their say on the Council’s planning application, which is being submitted this Autumn. They are being held on Wednesday 4 September from 4-8pm at Holdenhurst Village Hall and Tuesday 10 September from 4-8pm at Muscliff Community Centre.
For more information, please visit bcpcouncil.gov.uk/hicksfarmsang.