Fears over the future of red squirrels site

Concerns have been raised that alterations to a new housing development could destroy the habitat of red squirrels.

Developers are looking to vary a condition on a planning application to build 33 dwellings at Slaley Court in Bedlington, which will remove hedges.

The removal of the hedges along the northern and eastern boundary is forbidden under the terms of the original planning application.

However, during the construction of the layout, a ten-metre section of hedge has been removed in order to ease the construction process – causing anger among wildlife enthusiasts.

Catherine Weightman, joint co-ordinator of Morpeth and District Red Squirrels, said: “This hedge forms an important wildlife corridor for all sorts of wildlife, many birds find shelter within it and red squirrels will use it to travel around Gallagher Park.

“We regularly receive reports of sightings of reds within the park and local residents who live adjacent to the park feed and encourage the animals.

“The developers of the site were well aware of the limitations of the area when first applying for, and being given, approval to proceed.

“Northumberland is privileged to have native reds.”