HARM to hedgehogs, bats and birds could see controversial plans to build a gymnasium in the Easthampstead countryside collapse.

Bracknell Gymnastics Club wants to build the specialist centre on green land just south of Downshire Golf Complex.

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But the plans — which have already come up against stern opposition from more than 300 local residents — could be in trouble.

IN FULL: Details of plan to build gymnasium in Bracknell revealed

This is because Bracknell Forest Council’s woodlands and wildlife expert has recommended the plans for refusal.

According to the biodiversity officer’s report, four issues remain unresolved from the last time this site was proposed for development in 2017.

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The officer noted current proposals are likely to result in adverse impacts such as loss of habitat and lighting concerns.

READ MORE: Bracknell town chiefs ask for gymnasium plan to be refused

Various surveys at the site also found the presence or likely presence of nine species of importance at the site, including hedgehogs, slow-worms, starlings, stag-beetles and more.

According to the officer, the plans do not consider how to mitigate for the loss of habitat for reptiles, birds, hedgehogs and stag-beetles, which is in conflict with national and local advice and policies.

The loss of woodland is, therefore, another top concern for the officer.

READ MORE: Residents react to plans to build gymnasium in Bracknell countryside

Their survey revealed that although fewer trees would be lost from these plans than the previous plans, almost an entire hectare of woodland would still be lost.

This goes against national and local planning policies to protect woodland and biodiversity.

Bracknell News:

BFC’s biodiversity expert is also worried about the adverse impact the plans could have on the green infrastructure of the land.

This means its core functions — such as being a defence against flooding — would be affected.

These reasons led to the officer recommending the plans are refused — something that will be considered when planning chiefs make a decision on the proposal.

READ MORE: Councillor quits after row over Bracknell gymnasium plan

And the bad news does not stop there for the applicants as the council’s highways officer also lodged their objection to the plan.

They claimed the development would not provide “safe and suitable” access to the site.

Despite this, applicants have received positive news in that the environmental health officer did not object to the proposals.

Furthermore, the application has received 359 letters of support (although a significant proportion are from people living outside Bracknell Forest).

Bracknell Forest Council is currently considering the proposal.