David Beckham on course to win battle over controversial lake after he’s given thumbs by a local wildlife expert

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DAVID Beckham’s controversial pond has been given the thumbs by a local wildlife expert – despite objections from his neighbours.

The former footballer, 45, and his wife Victoria, 46, previously left neighbours angered over their plans to introduce a kidney-shaped lake at their £6million Cotswolds estate.

Local residents hit out at the plans, calling it “ugly”, “monstrous” and “out of keeping” with the posh area.

There were even concerns that the giant water feature would rob the area of valuable feeding and nesting areas for local wildlife.

But Esther Frizell-Armitage, the local council’s assistant biodiversity officer, believes the lake will be a plus for the area’s flora and fauna.

However, workers must build escape routes during the construction of the lake to ensure critters don’t become stuck at the bottom of the giant hole before it is filled with water.

But she said that further nature reports to determine whether rare species of newts breed in the area are needed before West Oxfordshire District Council can decide whether to grant planning permission.

She told planners: “Landscaping I understand that part of the area to be lost through the proposal comprises a newly created wildflower meadow area.

“Although this holds botanic interest (including species such as red campion and salad burnet), I consider the new scheme to provide enhancement measures that will contribute towards the biodiversity net gain on site.

“Proposed enhancement measures include the infilling of existing hedgerows with native species, the creation of the wildlife pond, the retention of part of the wildflower meadow as well as an area that will be managed as a hay meadow.

“Furthermore, bunds will be created and planted with native shrubs and trees.”

Esther continued: “These features will enhance the ecological value of the site and also provide foraging, refugia and breeding opportunities for species such as bats (where there are records on site), birds, reptiles and amphibians in the long-term.

“These details can further be submitted within a comprehensive landscaping scheme which will be required as a condition of planning consent.”

And she added: “We further recommend that a Precautionary Working Method Statement (PWMS) is prepared and submitted upfront. This should detail how the works will avoid harm to amphibians and reptiles.

“For example, slopes should be provided during the excavation of the pond to ensure suitable escape routes. I will provide a full response once the above details have been clarified and the relevant documents/reports have been prepared and submitted.”

Two neighbours close to the Beckhams’ £6 million house in the Cotswolds have complained about the plan for a lake.

One resident described the feature as being “monstrous” and another feared the development could have an impact on the water table.

It came shortly after the couple put in a planning application to West Oxfordshire District Council for a mammoth stretch of water, nearly 3000 m2, and with a depth of four metres.

The stunning retreat was a Grade II-listed farmhouse that was converted into the sprawling mansion-like building.

It already has a ‘fairytale garden’ designed by Chelsea Flower Show winner Marcus Barnett.

The couple also built a £30,000 tennis court for son Romeo, which has since been transformed it into a five-a-side football pitch.

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