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Hedgehogs win at our New Marske development

We have joined forces with a local hedgehog expert to set out plans for a “hedgehog highway” at our 23 home New Marske development, to protect declining populations of the popular little mammals.

Hedgehog populations in the UK have halved since 2000, however they have a champion in Redcar and Cleveland councillor and hedgehog expert, Cllr Anne Watts. Cllr Watts is currently caring for more than 30 hedgehogs at her home in Guisborough, and even has incubators waiting for this year’s babies.

At a meeting of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council’s regulatory committee, Cllr Watts advocated for the creation of a hedgehog highway through the gardens of the new homes before backing our planning application for the £3.5 million New Marske development. Consequently, we have developed plans to ensure the village’s hedgehog population is not impacted by the new homes.

Hedgehog highways are holes measuring 13cm by 13cm at the bottom of fences that allow the timid creatures to move freely between gardens without going near roads and cars, which have contributed to their declining numbers. The gap allows plenty of room for a hedgehog to safely travel through, while being small enough to keep most family pets protected. The woodland animals travel around one mile every night, setting up home under log piles and in small holes.

Currently under construction by Gus Robinson Developments, the sought-after rural village’s 23 new homes, and their hedgehog-friendly gardens, are expected to be available for affordable rent from March 2022.

Cllr Anne Watts, Redcar and Cleveland Councillor and hedgehog expert, said: “I didn’t know that Beyond Housing were building this development but when I was invited to come along and I realised it was Beyond Housing I was delighted. I’ve spoken to the Hedgehog Society and they’re over the moon.

It is so valuable for us to get developers on board and this is the first one in this area.”

Elaine Dance, Assistant Project Manager at Beyond Housing, said: “We are very excited about the creation of the hedgehog highway at our New Marske development. At Beyond Housing, were committed to listening to and addressing the concerns of our partners and supporting the natural environment.

“Thank you to Cllr Watts for making us aware of the issues faced by hedgehogs in navigating gardens; we hope that this highway will help to reduce the number of hedgehog casualties.”