Local people object to the demolition of Badger Setts. The development in Lancaster Way has attracted widespread concern.
The Lancaster Way Development which has been a blot on the landscape of the Delapre & Briar Hill area for some considerable time causes further concern this week as badger setts are being cleared by the developer to allow further works on the site. The setts are situated really close to the marked Main Sett on site and it is inconceivable to suggest that the setts are not connected. A plea is with the developer to leave the main sett in situ and to work on the wildlife corridors referred to by ecologists, badger experts and the original Natural England recommendations and conditions.
Sally Jones, a representative of the Northamptonshire Badger Group, has written to the Council and Natural England to express their grave concerns. The council feel they cannot assist as conditions relating to the badgers were not added when planning permission was granted. This is despite over 10 years of historical data relating to badgers in site, as well as ecology reports written before full planning permission was given, stating multiple badger setts on site. Recommendations for the site have now been prepared by Northamptonshire Badger Group in a hope to get the developer to really listen and engage in dialogue with those really concerned for the animals on site.
Emma Roberts (Labour Cllr, Delapre & Briar Hill Ward) said “I have been working closely with the residents and the badger group on understanding the makeup of this site and the problems faced by wildlife. I have visited the site and on inspection saw three setts ready for clearance or being cleared. I have been working with the group to understand what is best for the wildlife on site and what the developer, and wherever possible the Council can do to ensure the best outcomes for all concerned. Residents have reported a history of badger activity on and around the site and many are so very passionate about their survival.
Over the last few months they have become even more concerned about the future of the species on site, which the developer’s own ecologist report states ‘represents the last notable remaining areas of open space within the wider landscape’ for the badgers.
We call on the developer and all those concerned to immediately take stock and invest real time on the protection of this vital resource for the survival of the Lancaster Way badgers”
Local resident Antonella Mitchell said “Local residents are angry because sightings were ignored from the start and protected species are still being treated as an afterthought. Where’s the assessment of the impact this has on the local residents too? As highly territorial animals, it’s likely the badgers will return and try to re-dig new setts where they once lived. Their food sources on site have virtually been wiped out and have yet to be replaced which is extremely worrying. Will the badgers start to dig up residents’ gardens to get their fill of the 200 or so earthworms they need every night to sustain themselves? It will be the new and existing residents as well as the local badger group who will be left to deal with the aftermath. The council and developer will then have conveniently washed their hands of the matter”
Tris Pearce from the Badger Trust said “I have been aware of the struggles that Northamptonshire Badger Group have had to face to get the LPA and developer to consider the badgers on this site. It has been an example of badgers and setts being ignored until the last minute and then mitigation for the species being shoehorned into the development. If best practice had been followed and consideration for the mammals requirements in relation to the development been adopted at application stage, then the appropriate mitigation could have been conditioned to protect the species in the short and long term. Badger Trust have just launched a guide to badgers and development, outlining best practice, which every affiliated badger group have received, this can be obtained by planners and developers by contacting Badger Trust."
Cllr Roberts said “On what has been an extremely controversial development, this is a real opportunity for the developer to engage with residents and experts on what is such an important issue for them and the area in which the development sits. I spoke a few months ago about planning with a Capital P for people and it is so important that this is at the forefront of any planning framework. Planning for the People and in this case for a much-loved Protected species.”