A WILDLIFE trust has said development around Durleigh Brook in Bridgwater could harm otters, water voles and other creatures.

The UK Wild Otter Trust says it is concerned about the impact of Summerfield Developments' project to build 120 homes to the south of Durleigh Road, and a separate project by Sedgemoor District Council called The Meads Eco-Park.

The housing development has received final planning permissions and will make a major contribution to the eco-park.

But Dave Webb, founder of the UK Wild Otter Trust, said: “Without a doubt the impact on the wildlife there, should they decide to develop the area at the bottom of The Meads, could cause detriment to the species held within it.”

A one-day survey carried out by the trust found evidence of the following animals frequenting the site; otters, water voles, mink, roe deer, swan mussel, kestrel, sparrowhawk and redwing.

The team found pathways in grassed areas, otter prints, discarded swan muscle shells and said they are confident there is at least one otter holt (den) in the area.

The survey report concludes: “The site surveyed would benefit from little or no disturbance due to the diverse and protected nature of the species discovered.

“We would recommend no walkways or buildings/play areas be placed in such a position that would/could become detrimental to the area's wildlife. We would not recommend the area be opened to walkers.”

Sedgemoor District Council said it has not received a copy of the report, so cannot comment upon the content.

However, a spokesman added: “The Meads Eco-Park concept is to improve habitats for wildlife and biodiversity, as well as improving accessibility to the area for the enjoyment of visitors.

“The separate planning consent granted for the proposals for 120 houses did consider robust consideration of all wildlife and biodiversity issues and does not form part of the Eco Park proposals.”

The Mercury contacted Summerfield Developments, but has not received a response.

However, there are a number of planning conditions in place to protect wildlife and their habitats in the area.