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By Matthew Childe

A development company who bulldozed a wildlife haven after their associates were refused planning permission committed the “worst example of disregard for wildlife” an expert has ever seen.

Bulkhead Development of Maidenhead, sent in a digger to level part of a six acre filed of trees and grassland off Station Road, Helmdon, near Brackley just days after their associates, Richway Construction, were refused permission to build houses on the site by South Northamptonshire Council.

In a moment of madness on Monday morning, they ploughed through one and a half acres of rare species of plants and grasses and came perilously close to damaging a badger set.

And a local conservationist fears that they may be intending to destroy all the wildlife at the site so that a panning application will become successful.

Adrian Coulson, conservation director with the Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This is one of the worst examples of blatant disregard for wildlife I have ever seen.

“One of the reasons planning permission was refused was because of all the rare wildlife at the site.  But it looks as if they are trying to destroy all the wildlife so that there is one less reason for permission to he refused an appeal.  It’s all  pretty cynical stuff.”

The field is one of only eight percent of land in Northamptonshire classed as of county importance by the Wildlife Trust because of the rare species it possesses.

There are tix types of rare plants, sand lizards and a range of butterflies, including the endangered small blue butterfly.

Bill England, 50, who lives next to the field, which surrounds a stretch of disused railway, said: ”We heard the construction company had been refused planning permission and thought the site had been saved  But then they just sent in this huge bulldozer and started desecrating the field.  It’s such a beautiful place.  This is just sheer bloody-mindedness.”

Villagers’  fears that workmen would proceed to level the rest of the site were temporarily averted after a warning from English Nature, a national licensing body looking after the interests of endangered species.

They told Bulkhead that if they dug any closer than 20 metres from the badger set at the site they would be contravening the conditions of the 1992 Badger Act and therefore breaking the law.

The JCBs have now stopped working at the site.  Both Bulkhead Development and Richway Construction were unavailable for comment.

Probable Banbury or Brackley Paper






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