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Don’t forget the newts: Opponents of Cat Hill housing scale up battle
Tuesday, 04 February 2014
Not giving up: Kim Coleman
Artist’s impression: A view of the development in Cat Hill
A NEW front has opened up in the war over hundreds of homes being built in a leafy corner of the borough.
The plan to build 231 homes on the site of the former Middlesex University campus in Cat Hill, Cockfosters, has been mired in controversy from the outset, with campaigners furious that natural habitats of native species will be destroyed by the development.
While Enfield Council’s planning committee approved the L&Q scheme and Natural England gave the go-ahead subject to a series of conditions, a leading figure in the campaign to save Cat Hill was shocked when a leaflet dropped through her door informing her that work will start on the site this week.
“One of the conditions was that they would build a newt-proof fence to stop the great crested newts from travelling into the building site as they can travel for up to a mile,” Kim Coleman told the Advertiser.
She was also horrified to learn that work to demolish the existing buildings will begin on Monday – months before the end of the newts’ natural hibernation period, which Ms Coleman says is another contravention of the conditions set down by Natural England.
“I have not given up,” she added. “I have lived here for 60 years and I am going to fight off L&Q. I will see them off before they see me off.”
But London and Quadrant housing is adamant that it is following the conditions set down to the letter.
A spokesman for the developer insisted that all plans are “in line with licences issued by Natural England”.
He added: “We will create 231 well-designed homes that match the character of the local area, with a 25-year woodland management plan. Initially, this will include tree protection and pruning works and the erection of special fencing to protect newts, in line with licences issued to us by Natural England.”
Council chiefs have said they will keep a close eye on the contractors to make sure that they fully comply with every aspect of the conditions laid down by conservationists.
Cabinet member for environment Chris Bond said: “The council is in discussion with L&Q about the discharge of conditions imposed on the planning permission and has reminded the developer of the need to comply with the terms of the licence.”
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