Campaigners and developer at loggerheads over how to protect badgers at Northampton housing development

Residents protested in 2018 over badger welfare at the Lancaster Way development
Residents protested in 2018 over badger welfare at the Lancaster Way development

A row has broken out between campaigners and a developer over how best to protect badgers at a housing development in Northampton.

Northamptonshire Badger Group, a borough councillor and residents are concerned the badgers close to the Lancaster Way site will be lost under the current plans.

But Barry Howard Homes argues it is working with Natural England to get the best possible solution for the protected species in accordance with their licence.

Sally Jones from Northamptonshire Badger Group said: "We have grave concerns about the provisions for badgers and their short- and long-term survival on this site.

"It is our opinion that the badgers have never been a consideration of the developer and they have always been seen as something to move."

In January 2018, Northampton Borough Council granted planning permission for Xcite Projects to build nearly 140 houses on an 11-acre space off Towcester Road.

Resident opposed the scheme as it would take away Lancaster Way's last green space but no stipulations were made in the permission relating to badgers

Xcite then sold the land to Barry Howard Homes and a protest was held in September 2018, when builders started to de-shrub the land as it was thought to be harmful to the mammals.

Last week badger setts were cleared by the developer to allow further works on the site, but Barry Howard insists this was all within their Natural England licence.

Mr Howard said: "We fully work with the authorities to manage the wildlife on the site and we were issued a licence by Natural England which we have complied with.

"Had we not complied with it or not done the very best for the wildlife on the site, Northamptonshire Police would get involved as these are protected species, so it's in our interest to look after them."

The main sett is currently cordoned off but the campaigners fears the plan to build an artificial home for the badgers will be detrimental to their welfare.

Recommendations for the site have now been prepared by Northamptonshire Badger Group with support from The Badger Trust on how best to look after the species protected by law.

Labour councillor for Delapre and Briar Hill ward, Emma Roberts, has been working closely with residents and the badger group to monitor the situation.

"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," she said.

"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."