Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Seeing Red over Threat to Squirrels; HOMES BID SPARKS PETITION

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Seeing Red over Threat to Squirrels; HOMES BID SPARKS PETITION

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON MEECHAN Reporter simon.meechan@trinitymirror.com @SimonMeechan_90

A PLAN to carve up a slice of former green land near a habitat favoured by endangered red squirrels has been slammed by Chronicle readers.

Wildlife campaigners have launched a petition against plans for 462 homes near Hazlerigg, claiming it will threaten the area's red squirrel population.

The Banks Group wants to build houses on a 20-hectare site in Coach Lane, to the west of Hazlerigg and south of Brunswick Village. The previously undeveloped site was removed from the protected greenbelt when Newcastle adopted its One Core Strategy last year. The strat-egy sets out devel-opment in the city until 2030.

The proposed development is opposite Havann a h Nature Reserve - the last-known site of breeding red squirrels in Newcastle.

Campaign group Save Newcastle Wildlife say that the new houses will bring grey squirrels to the area and "wipe out the city's last viable urban red population."

This is because land around the reserve acts as a buffer between grey and red squirrels - but new homes and gardens will attract more greys to the area.

Grey squirrels carry a virus which is deadly to their smaller, red cousins.

Writing on the Chronicle's Facebook page, Sandra Wrigg described the loss of natural sites as "flaming ridiculous" and pointed out red squirrels are a protected species.

She added: "Half the houses will remain empty because people can't afford them HB (Help to Buy) or NOT."

Half houses remain " Carolyn Hedley Gordon wrote: "Just how many more houses can be built around north Gosforth? There will be no green open areas left."

people afford Sandra " Dawn McKenna replied: "I saw a deer run across the road at Great Park last night - first one I've seen in three years. They come from Gosforth park to Havannah, but there'll be building at both sites soon, so I'm not expecting to see more deer anytime soon. …

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