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Tuesday, 08 March 2011 (3012809)
Squirrels fear in homes plan
by David Simister

PLANS to build five new homes in the heart of Aughton are set to be given the go ahead by councillors despite concerns that it could affect nearby wildlife.

Members of West Lancashire's planning committee have been reccomended to grant planning permission for five new detached homes on Prescot Road and a new access road, despite objections from residents and wildlife groups that the development could damage the habitat of red squirrels living nearby.

“The area is within a national Red Squirrel refuge and buffer zone and has a known population recorded here,” wrote Fiona Whitfield, Conservation Officer for The Willdife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside as part of a neighbour representation sent to councillors.

“Any felling of trees in urban areas within the refuge and buffer zone should be carefully considered as the urban areas carry breeding populations of red squirrels which use many of the urban trees for feeding, breeding and movement.”

Objections have also been received from 14 neighbouring residents, who voiced concerns that the homes would be an overdevelopment of the area and that the site is important on an environmental level, with both bats and squirrels living in the vicinity.

However the council's planning officers have reccomended that councillors approve the plans, subject to the developer, Charnwick Limited, entering into a Section 106 agreement under the Town and Country Planning Act, which would see them help to pay for community facilities to help counter the effects of any new development.

The plans are expected to be considered by members of the council's planning committee at a meeting held at the borough council's headquarters in Ormskirk from 7.30pm tomorrow night.


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