News

Homeless geese can’t find their pond after business park demolished

The Canada geese had made a home on the pond at North London Business Park but the site is now undergoing redevelopment, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

credit Raksha Bhalsod
Geese at the business park before (left, credit Raksha Bhalsod) and now without their pond

Concerns have been raised for a group of Canada geese who have been kicked out of their home on what is now a building site.

The birds have been spotted wandering around the North London Business Park (NLBP) site, apparently looking for a pond that has now been filled in as the site undergoes redevelopment.

It comes amid wider concerns over the environmental impact of the suburban development scheme, which is set to provide 1,350 homes and a new school. Plans by developer Comer Homes to build more than 1,000 extra homes on the site were turned down by Barnet Council in January.

Petra Booth, who lives in Brunswick Avenue, said the Canada geese flew away for winter and returned at the start of February to find the pond had gone.

She said that under the approved plans the pond needed to be relocated to another part of the site – but warned it could take ten years for the scheme to be built, meaning there is now “no home” for the birds.

“There is no grass or anything, so this morning they just sat on the concrete,” Petra said. “They just wander around.

“The gate to the park used to be open. They would come out and cross the road, and there is green space at the other side. Now the gate is closed they just tend to stay on the concrete.

“It is really sad to see them like that, to be honest. We’re in spring. The goslings – there is no shelter for them, there is nothing.”

Petra said the geese were popular with residents, who would chaperone them across the road. She added that the birds would probably relocate “eventually” but right now they are staying put.

It comes amid wider concerns over the business park scheme’s ecological impact. A council planning report published in December revealed contractors linked to the building of the new school had damaged a slow-worm habitat at the site. Slow-worms are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The report added: “The site was visited by the council’s ecology officer, as a result of which all work in this area ceased and log piles were erected along the site periphery as recommended in the ecology surveys. The applicant also reported themselves to the police and have provided copies of this to the local authority.”

Neighbours also raised concerns that trees at the site had been felled without permission. David Farbey, a co-ordinator for the Stop NLBP Expansion campaign group, claimed that at the Brunswick Park Road end of the site more trees had been removed than were allowed to be taken down.

Under the plans, 74 trees are set to be felled to allow the development to go ahead. Although 470 new trees are to be planted, Petra claimed many of these would be “shrubs”.

David said Comer Homes had claimed the contractor was responsible, which he branded a “pathetic excuse”. He said the developer could get away with paying any enforcement penalties and did not care about the environment.

Petra said: “I do blame the council for this, because being a project of the size it is, someone should be coming and checking – but they were not, and they came too late.”

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of local concerns about the protection of wildlife and habitats on the North London Business Park site, including the issue regarding the Canadian geese having returned to site post-clearance.

“The council has reiterated to Comer Homes their statutory duty of care and is monitoring the situation, working with their ecologist, to ensure compliance with regulations.

“The council is committed to ensuring the sustainable development of the site, and will ensure that as well as meeting our statutory requirements, we also take every step we can to balance our responsibilities to creating homes for people and wildlife.”

Comer Homes and the Metropolitan Police were approached for comment.


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