THE Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) has written to members of Basingstoke council’s development control committee, expressing its ‘disappointment’ at its move to approve plans for a major warehouse on land near Junction 7 of the M3.

In a letter seen by the Gazette, the charity’s policy and advocacy manager, Sienna Somers, set out her organisation’s reasons for supporting calls by Hampshire MPs for the decision to be ‘called in’ by central government.

“We are very disappointed that many of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s councillors approved this application, prioritising short term economic gain without consideration of the short and long-term ecological impacts of destroying important and irreplaceable habitats which provide essential ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration,” she wrote.

“The approved proposals will destroy a woodland corridor of 67 mature Oaks, 3 mature Beech trees of Grade A(ii) status, plus a further 13 Oak trees and habitats which are home to many notable species and are a core part of the Nature Recovery Network locally.”

The letter follows a petition by residents of Dummer and the nearby area, who are also calling for the council to consider the environmental impact.

The petition has so far topped 87,000 signatures in less than a fortnight, and aims to reach the 150,000 mark.

It was launched following the decision taken earlier this month, by Basingstoke council’s Development Control Committee, to give the green light to developer Newlands for plans for a major distribution hub, thought to be occupied by Amazon, on the ‘Basingstoke Gateway’ land by Junction 7 of the M3.

At the meeting, concerns were raised by various interested parties about the effect on nearby , with plans indicating the felling of dozens of historic trees.

The HIWWT letter goes on to highlight that the site is adjacent to several areas of “ancient woodland” and that the development plans would hinder movement of various wildlife species “that use the network for migration, dispersion, or for movement to adapt to climate change”.

It adds that the development is “wholly unsuitable” in light of climate emergency targets, both locally and nationally, and pledged its support to the efforts of MPs to have it reversed.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been contacted for comment.