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TREE TRIUMPH: Pinner residents rejoice as controversial planning application withdrawn

 Published on: 10th February 2022   |   By: Holly Bullen   |   Category: Uncategorized

Pinner residents are overjoyed after a planning application which allegedly threatened to destroy natural woodland and badger habitat has been withdrawn.

The development which posed to build four residential blocks on Pinner Roads was heavily opposed by residents and gained traction nationwide with a petition raising more than 30,000 signatures.

Banding together residents fought against the application to protect the badger sett and even hired a drone photographer to capture the precious woodland.

Speaking to PinnerNews, Alia Lewis, one of the residents who opposed the application said everyone is over the moon to see the application withdrawn.

She said: “We are all really thrilled, it’s not easy when al you know is the woodland there and you love it and you want to protect it.

“Everyone did what they could to help. The amount of signatures was so unexpected, but it just goes to show how dissatisfied people are with these developers who have no regard for the green space.

“The woodland is so beautiful, lush and green, so many of us appreciate it even more so now.”

Alia added that the main area of concern for residents was the threat to the woodland which backs onto their home and the badger sett which would have been destroyed.

She said: “I went through everything with a fine-tooth comb and wrote a 16-page objection letter going through all their reports.

“Pictures really don’t represent the actual site, when we are in the rooms at the back of our house, it would have been so imposing to have these apartment blocks.

“I joined Facebook for this and tried to find every badger group in the UK and asked people to support us.”

Heshma Shah, who is Pinner resident but does not live on Pinner Road, was rocked by the development and couldn’t sit on her hands and do nothing.

She said: “I don’t live on the road myself, but I got involved because I felt that as a community we could do more.

“For me personally I thought unless as a community we do something to fight the development, the council will just keep on approving more and more.

“The small green spaces are going to disappear and we will be left with a concrete jungle.”

Heshma added that through the objection process, like Alia, she too became passionate about protecting the badgers.

She said: “We started to become passionate about the badgers, they had been there for many years.

“We learnt that the badgers themselves are very territorial and they can’t just be rehomed somewhere else.”

Heshma continued to highlight a wider problem with the development in Pinner and across the borough.

She said: “The council were not thinking about the infrastructure in place for if the flats were built.

“Is this had been approved, it would have been a travesty. This isn’t just a local issue, this is a nationwide issue, so many places are getting destroyed by these flats.”

A spokesperson for MML Investments said: “Following detail discussions with planning officers we have decided to withdraw our planning application and review our plans to address some of points raised the council and other consultees.

“We would like to make clear that at no point has our scheme put the badgers at risk and our proposed measures to protect them would be supported by both the council and Natural England. We hope to bring forward revised plans later this year.”

Leader of Harrow Council, councillor Graham Henson, has previously said on the council’s regeneration plans: “Harrow is crying out for high-quality affordable housing. Too many people are trapped in unsuitable, overcrowded accommodation. They deserve places to live that will support their success and allow their families to flourish.

“We are committed to doing all that we can to meet Harrow’s future needs within our existing developed environment. That means using sites like these (brownfield developments) much more efficiently. By making this commitment, we can protect our precious greenbelt and ensure that the development proposals we bring forward are appropriate, sustainable and backed by investment in infrastructure.”

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