Published: 06:00, 21 July 2021
| Updated: 16:11, 21 July 2021
Strong concerns have been raised over plans to relocate the homes of badgers who live on land destined for a new controversial seafront development.
Residents who object to the proposal along Princes Parade in Hythe say it shows a "total disregard for wildlife" and are demanding that the animals are "protected, not destroyed".
Nearly 100 comments have been added to the planning application, which has been submitted by Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC), which is behind the scheme to create 150 homes, a hotel and leisure centre along the coastal road.
The application seeks permission for the "formation of a new badger sett, including earthworks", as the current sett needs to be moved to allow the project to go ahead.
But it has sparked fears from residents, with Frances Tanner writing on the planning portal: "I strongly object to the proposed resiting of the badger sett.
"It is too close to the road and badgers will be run over and disturbed by the construction work of this unwanted development of Princes Parade.
"Apparently, there hasn't been any consultation with groups that have experience of badgers. The whole project is to placate the public's concerns about the destruction of the wild life in the area."
Ruth Corbett said: "This show total disregard for wildlife. I oppose the relocation and the underhand way that FHDC are continuing to ride rough shod over the people of Hythe."
Paula added: "You are making a grave mistake building on this land.
"It - and its wildlife - should be protected, not destroyed.
"It’s the last standing bit of public space in the area for natural beauty. Save the wildlife - save our sanity - save the badgers!"
Melita Godden warned "this will not end well" adding: "This is wrong, we all know it is not what should be happening to badgers."
The East Kent Badger Group is also against the plan.
The group said: "Being the local badger group we have a great deal of local knowledge concerning badger distribution in the Princes Parade/Seabrook area.
"At no stage have we been consulted, and the position of the proposed artificial sett is based on pure convenience rather than scientific knowledge.
"For example we are not aware that any ecological studies have been made to determine whether or not the badgers at the existing Princes Parade site use this area of the site already.
"We are also concerned that the site is too close to proposed roads and makes the animals which will use the sett vulnerable to road traffic accidents."
Hythe Town Council also objects, as does action group, Save Princes Parade, which has long-fought to stop the development at Princes Parade going ahead.
This includes launching Judicial Review last year, although this was lost at the High Court.
A sett is a badger's den and usually consists of a network of underground tunnels and numerous entrances.
The development on land along Princes Parade was approved in 2019 and as well as the homes, hotel and leisure centre, will include shops and green spaces.
As part of the plans, the road will also be stopped up closer to the Royal Military Canal. A planning application for this part of the scheme has been submitted to the Department for Transport.
A decision on the planning application about the new badger sett is expected next month.
A FHDC spokesman said: “At the heart of the Princes Parade project is work to safeguard and improve the key ecological features of the area.
“The creation of a new sett will guarantee that an area suitable for badger breeding is maintained on the site, as well as provide continued refuge opportunity for the creatures. It would also ensure any effects of the development can be appropriately controlled.”