Homes plan ‘is death knell for badger family’

A badger.
A badger.

PLANS for seven homes in Nash Mills have been given the go-ahead despite warnings it will kill off a badger clan.

Nearby residents turned out at a meeting of Dacorum Borough Council’s development control committee to defend the animals’ habitat on land between Belswains Lane and Teal Way.

The Herts and Middlesex Badger Group, in an official response to the plans, said: “If allowed, the badger clan will die out within three years.”

People living nearby also made their opposition clear. Simon Setterfield said: “This garden is the last oasis of wildlife in this area.

“There is no possibility development of this site will leave space for the foraging of this species.”

Scott Dean added: “I have strong feelings about the development of Nash Mills.

“All I can see today are flats, houses and more flats. The development of this green land, the decision is not being made for the people in the area.

“We are the people who have to live with the decision and the overcrowding for years.”

He said the land supported birds and foxes as well as badgers. “This land has become a paradise for wildlife,” he said.

The development – which will involve the loss of two of four setts – was also strongly opposed by Nash Mills Parish Council, the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and a petition of 94 signatures.

Wildlife supporters were unconvinced by the inclusion of a 20 metre by 20 metre ‘badger refuge’ in the scheme.

Councillor John Whitman warned: “You’re going to kill a badger sett, which is a protected species.”

Planning office Jackie Ambrose responded: “Badgers will find another area when one is blocked up.”

Councillor Graham Adshead, tabling a motion to ignore the advice of officers and turn down the plans, said: “I’m very concerned about the possibility of losing two setts.”

However, the motion was voted down by eight to four.

A report from the Herts Biological Records Centre said: “We do not consider there is sufficient reason to justify a refusal as we cannot demonstrate that these particular proposals will beyond reasonable doubt cause direct or indirect harm to the badgers such that their welfare will be compromised.”

Conditions on the scheme include an updated badger survey, mitigation strategy and long-term monitoring.