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Who is telling the truth at Cat Hill?

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Human blockade: Opponents of the Cat Hill development outside the site

Human blockade: Opponents of the Cat Hill development outside the site



A CONSERVATION group and a housing developer have provided contradictory versions of the exact nature of building work taking place on the site of a former university campus.



After a series of tip-offs from a band of campaigners who are horrified that L&Q housing has started work on the site of the former Middlesex University campus in Cat Hill, Cockfosters, conservation group Natural England visited the site on the border of Enfield and Barnet last week.



Although L&Q, which is planning to build 231 homes on the site, said last Friday that Natural England “indicated that they are happy with how work is progressing”, when contacted by the Advertiser, the conservation group was adamant that no formal backing had been given to the developers.



A spokesman from Natural England said that although compliance officers had visited after concerns that certain environmental licences regarding newt and bat habitats were being breached, it had not yet formally replied to L&Q.



He said: “Natural England takes potential breaches of licences or wildlife offences seriously and, having been alerted to concerns, we initiated a compliance visit quickly.



“We are evaluating the findings of our visit

and will inform the developers of our decision in due course.”



When asked by the Advertiser why L&Q had initially said it had been given approval to

continue with work on the site, a spokeswoman for the developer said: “L&Q and contractors Quadrant Construction have been in regular contact with Natural England to ensure that the requirements of the licence are being met.



“Following Natural England’s visit last week and discussions with our licensed ecologists, work is continuing to progress on site.”



Campaign leader Kim Coleman and fellow opponents of the housing complex have formed a human blockade at the main entrance to the site daily since Monday last week.



In the space of a week they have been able to turn away three construction lorries. Mrs Coleman said they were keeping a very close eye on goings-on behind the construction gates.



“We know they are not allowed to fell any tree that might be a bat roost,” she told the Advertiser today.



“So, if we see them cut down any tree we know they roost in, we will immediately call the police because that would be criminal damage.”

Email: ruth.mckee@nlhnews.co.uk

All content © of North London Press unless stated otherwise.



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