Residents have lost a long battle to stop a housing development in Harrow that they fear will destroy the woodland home of a family of badgers, which will ‘end up dead’. The developer has agreed to install an artificial badger sett and relocate them within a protected zone.
More than 30,000 people from all over the UK have signed an online petition, dating back to late 2021, to “stop the Pinner Road development” in Harrow. However, the plan was given the green light at a recent meeting of Harrow Council’s planning committee (November 22).
Dubbed The Sidings, the new plan will see 37 homes built in three blocks of flats on a patch of land behind 134 houses on Pinner Road and next to the Metropolitan line. It comprises 22 one-bedroom apartments, as well as 14 two-bedroom, and one three-bedroom. Ten of the flats are described as “affordable housing”.
The site has been home to a family of badgers, which, along with their setts are protected by law In England and Wales. However, licences for development can still be issued if it is deemed to be justified.
The developer, LLM Investments, will install an artificial badger sett and relocate them within a 30 metre exclusion zone to the western corner of the site, prior to the development work starting. An agreement to examine numbers and closely monitor the situation was made after discussions with the biodiversity officers.
They have also claimed they will provide an off-site financial contribution so the scheme achieves a 20 per cent bio-diversity net gain target and maintain existing trees and vegetation “wherever possible”.
Residents of Pinner Road and the Gardens claim any attempt to re-home the badgers “will be futile” as it is in the animals DNA to return to their original habitat. Residents also raised concerns about the distance from the development to the railway track, the impact the development will have on traffic in the area, and a loss of privacy.
Council officers had recommended that the plan be approved, stating they had “no issue with the principle of the development”. The chair of the committee, Cllr Marilyn Ashton, said the application was “good enough to warrant approval” and suggested it would be “hard to win an appeal” if it was refused and the decision was challenged.
The ward councillor for Headstone, Simon Brown, told the committee that, whilst he supported increasing housing numbers in the borough, “especially affordable housing”, he felt the site was not right for this development.
Cllr Brown proposed an alternative recommendation to refuse the plan due to the “depth of feeling against the development” from local residents. However, this failed and the scheme was approved by four votes to three in favour.
Ms Sivananthan, said: “The final decision was very disappointing to us and made even greater by the fact that the objections we raised were belittled and factual inaccuracies contributed to the final decision. Sadly, this decision will have a huge adverse impact on the local community and the natural habitat – this has been home to the badger setts for decades.”
She added: “The thought of all this destruction so ten affordable homes can be built on this site is just disgraceful. Particularly, when so many new builds that can be perfectly re-purposed for affordable housing stand empty in the London Borough of Harrow.”