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Queen Star Brian May Saves Burpham’s Hedgehogs As Sainsbury’s Surrenders

Published on: 9 Nov, 2020
Updated on: 9 Nov, 2020

Sainsbury’s in Burpham

By Hugh Coakley

Burpham’s hedgehogs have been saved. After a high-profile campaign by conservationist rockstar Brian May, his Save Me Trust and more than 300 objections from residents, Sainsbury’s have cancelled supermarket expansion plans which would have threatened wildlife.

See Queen’s Brian May leads fight to-stop Sainsbury’s destroying Burpham hedgehog habitat)

A statement from the shopping giant said they would work “with local groups to redesign our application, so it doesn’t touch the buffer zone surrounding the ancient woodland and also increases the biodiversity of the area”.

Hedgehog numbers have declined dramatically in the UK.

The expansion would have threatened a hedgehog population fighting for survival, felled 67 trees and occupied Local Green Space designated in the Burpham Neighbourhood Plan.

May, Queen’s legendary lead guitarist with a doctorate in astrophysics, had appeared on BBC Radio and ITV News and pushed his campaign through various publications, including The Times, the Daily Telegraph and The Guildford Dragon NEWS.

Save Me Trust CEO Anne Brummer and Brian May surveying for hedgehogs.

Save Me Trust CEO Anne Brummer and Brian May surveying for hedgehogs

A Save Me Trust statement, signed by Dr May and Ms Brummer, said: “From our conversations with Sainsbury’s it’s clear they share our goals of sustainability and enhancement of wildlife habitats.

“We are now confident solutions can be found for their expansion plans that are sustainable and effective, supporting local flora, fauna and humans.

“Vanishing habitat is the most pressing issue facing wildlife today. It’s essential we preserve wild areas to ensure our spectacular wildlife continues to flourish.

“Sainsbury’s decision is a great step towards ensuring wild animals already pushed into narrow corridors are able to survive and more importantly, to thrive.”

Ms Brummer, told The Dragon today that she had had a Zoom meeting with Sainsbury’s on Thursday (November 5) where they had agreed to withdraw their plans.

She said corporations and people just didn’t realise how connected everything is and planning law was ineffective at protecting habitat.

“The legislation for protecting wildlife is not fit for purpose,” Ms Brummer added. “Fifty-two per cent of our wildlife has disappeared in the past 40 years and habitat loss is the major cause.

“With ever-expanding human population, we need to look very closely at the developments and their impact so we are actually providing meaningful space for wildlife and humans.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We have listened to the concerns with regards to our proposal and have withdrawn our planning application.

“We look forward to working with the community over the coming months, especially with groups such as Save Me Trust and the Woodland Trust, on a revised proposal that brings the best possible environmental benefits alongside supporting local jobs and more convenient ways to shop.”

The withdrawn proposals were intended to “enable Sainsbury’s to more than triple the capacity of the [grocery online delivery facility] hub at the store to meet increasing demand for online shopping”.

Christian Holliday, chair of the Burpham Neighbourhood Forum and Andy Clapham, Chair Burpham Community Association in the copse that was threatened by the withdrawn proposal.

Former Conservative ward councillor for Burpham chairman of the Burpham Neighbourhood Forum and Andy Clapham as chair of the BCA issued a joint statement this evening (November 9): “We are pleased to see that the planning application for development within one of Burpham’s ‘Local Green Spaces’ has been withdrawn. The potential for damage to local wildlife and the integrity of the designated Local Green Space was significant.

“The BCA and BNF have represented the local community in this process so far and we expect to be involved in the discussions to come. The BCA and BNF have yet to be contacted by Sainsbury’s and we do not yet know the nature of their revised proposals.

“We will review any new planning application and comment as appropriate at that time.”

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Responses to Queen Star Brian May Saves Burpham’s Hedgehogs As Sainsbury’s Surrenders

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    November 10, 2020 at 12:03 am

    So 345 objections on technical grounds coupled with four or five statutory designations of the land had no effect yet a rock star astrophysicist and some hedgehogs won the day. Pity the poor old pipistrelle bats didn’t get a look in.

    Strange how big corporations work with the community.

  2. Anthony Mallard Reply

    November 11, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Whilst, no doubt, the community wondered what Sainsbury’s reaction would be, having had to withdraw its planning application, in the face of overwhelming objection, it probably didn’t think it would happen quite so quickly.

    On a visit this morning a large marquee has been erected in the car park. Not as one may have expected in a little-used area but taking up a significant number of disabled persons parking bays.

    I am sure the manager could provide a number of excuses why this tent should be placed in this position rather than elsewhere or co-located with the click and collect, perhaps it is just a coincidence, in which case I invite her to prove me wrong. I also invite her to redesignate a similar number of the ‘ordinary’ parking bays, near the store entrance, for the use of disabled people during the period that this structure remains in position.

    Disability is not a choice and it is insensitive and wrong of the company to misuse these parking bays to the undoubted detriment of disabled people.

  3. Judith Gordon Reply

    November 11, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    Brian May and Anne Brummer not only look after Burpham’s hedgehogs, they also took on a poorly young hedgehog that I had been looking after in Ealing, London because she had lost an eye. After two months the vet said she was well enough to go to a sanctuary.

    I contacted many rescue centres and no one would take her until I contacted Anne Brummer’s Save Me Trust. Our local vet operated on the hedgehog’s eye and saw her several times for free over the two months. Even Londoner’s appreciate how rare these creatures are. I am grateful that Anne and Brian were able to offer her a life.

  4. Simon Masters Reply

    November 11, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    Why did Sainsbury’s make the application in the first place?

    If the site had statutory protection why did the community not trust the planners to reject the application?

    You cannot trust UK planning law.

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