Published: 12:00, 09 April 2021
| Updated: 16:28, 09 April 2021
Emotive photos have been created to show how wildlife could be affected by Hythe's divisive Princes Parade housing development.
They are the work of new campaign group, Wild about Princes Parade, and show people gathered near felled trees, wearing fox and badger masks.
One photo is designed to depict mother nature in mourning over the alleged loss of animal habitats; another shows the creatures leaving their homes on 'eviction day' with no where to go.
The Princes Parade scheme will see a new leisure centre, 150 homes, a hotel,shops and green spaces built along Princes Parade Road, which runs along Hythe's seafront.
As part of the plans, the road will be relocated closer to the Royal Military Canal.
The project, led by developer Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC), has been subject to many protests and even a court battle to stop it going ahead since it was first proposed.
The court battle, headed by action group Save Princes Parade, was eventually lost at Judicial Review.
Work started on the development this year, including some trees and vegetation being removed along the northern bank of the canal, plus sampling across the site at varying levels and depths using a number of different methods.
Now, Wild About Princes Parade have set up new social media pages to "highlight what has and will happen to nature as part of the development".
Member Mark Brophy said: "Mother Nature is mourning the death of the trees which have been felled unnecessarily by the council.
"She is accompanied by the animals of Princes Parade who will be evicted if the development goes ahead and are currently being disturbed by the investigation work that is the first stage of the scheme.
"There are small crosses with words like "bye-bye blackbird" and "poor little sparrow evicted" representing the birds that are no longer able to use the trees or may have perished due to the disturbance by heavy machinery.
"Another photo shows the badgers and foxes leaving their home on Princes Parade after suffering eviction by the council to make way for houses, hotel and pool.
"They have all their belongings with them and are facing homelessness.
"Where will they end up? Maybe they will be seen in Folkestone, Hythe or Dymchurch? They may turn up anywhere looking for a new place to live."
Mr Brophy added: "By doing this, we hope to give a voice to the animals who are losing their homes."
Last month, those against the scheme, including members of Save Princes Parade and some councillors, called the removal of the vegetation and trees near the canal 'premature', fearing it would disturb nesting birds.
As a result, around 50 people ended up gathering near the waterway to protest what was happening. Police were eventually called.
FHDC has long defended its plans to build on the land, a former municipal waste site.
A statement on its website reads: "We think the residents of Hythe and the wider district deserve a new swimming pool and leisure facilities fit for the 21st century.
"Improving physical and mental wellbeing is one of our key priorities for the next three years as part of our commitment to positive community leadership in our new Corporate Plan.
"The development also includes quality homes to meet local needs, new public parks and better access to the canal and beach.
"In this the development aligns with our other service ambition of creating quality homes and infrastructure."
An FHDC spokesman said: "Preparatory work for the Princes Parade scheme is currently underway, and this will help create a better environment for a number of species in the long term.
"There is an approved ecological plan in place to relocate wildlife if necessary and to create suitable environments for them to thrive in the future."