Discovery of protected species could stop Limehouse development

Bat boxes have been found on the Limehouse Triangle site where construction starts next month. Pic: The East London Garden Society

The discovery of protected species such as bats, slow worms and stag beetles on a Limehouse green space may stop the construction of a new housing development on the site, say campaigner.

The East London Garden Society say bats, stag beetles and slow worm have been spotted at the Limehouse Triangle in Salmon Lane where 94 flats are due to be built next month. The Society and local residents are now pushing to stop plans in the hopes it will protect the Triangle. Society chairman, Geoff Juden say they are prepared to take legal action to preserve the site.

Locksley D, the name given to the proposed new build is part of a £37.1m project by the council in conjunction with London based construction company, Bouygues UK.

Locksley D will convert the triangular biodiversity site into a seventeen-unit, eight storey high housing development. Bouygues UK said: “This will comprise a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments for local people, including families on the housing register.” The construction is one of four housing developments in the Tower Hamlets borough by Bouygues UK. 

A representation of what the flats should look like once completed. Pic: Bouygues UK

Currently the council are still planning to go ahead with the build. Juden said: “[The council] are still insisting works are going ahead, in spite of environmental laws on protected species”.

Bat boxes have now been discovered on the site. According to the GOV.UK website: “All bat species, their breeding sites and resting places are fully protected by law…You’ll need an expert to do a bat survey.” 

The Society are now calling on the council to cease construction immediately so a bat survey can be undertaken. Although, Juden said: “This can only be done during the Spring/Summer of 2021 when bat activity is at its highest.  No more removal of flora or fauna must be attempted until such a survey is undertaken”.

The Society strongly believe protected wildlife remains on the site and are subsequently threatening legal action. Juden said: “Should we have to go for a private [criminal] prosecution, we would have to raise the funds…The principle is that wildlife is protected in law, whether the council backs down or not, the criminal case can go on… it is crime against nature”.

Tower Hamlets Council did not respond to requests for comment.

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