‘HEDGEHOG highways’ will be built into part of Rugby’s new neighbourhood to help address a decline in their population.
Housebuilder Morris is teaming up with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to help hedgehogs navigate through Houlton, the new 6,200-home suburb currently under construction at the old radio mast site on the eastern edge of Rugby.
Morris’ development, The Beacons, will be the first in Houlton to sign up to the initiative by including passing points in its garden fences – allowing hedgehogs and other wildlife the freedom to amble around in their quest to find food and a mate.
With hedgehog numbers rapidly declining nationally – a third of the hedgehog population having been lost since the millennium – it is hoped that the initiative will also encourage other developers to follow suit.
Dr Deborah Wright, Hedgehog Officer at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, said: “It’s fantastic that Morris has decided take up the recommendations of both the Trust and Rugby Borough Council to make fencing hedgehog-friendly at the Beacons.
“The development sits within the Rugby Hedgehog Improvement Area, funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. We work across the borough to engage communities in wildlife conservation and habitat improvements – and Morris is setting a precedent for the connectivity of green spaces for hedgehogs in the area.”
Rugby Borough Council Parks and Grounds Manager Chris Worman MBE said: “It is great that the developers of Houlton are supporting the Hedgehog Improvement Area and adding to successful work that we are already doing across the rest of Rugby.”
Emily Wilson, Hedgehog Officer for the national Hedgehog Street campaign, added: “We are really encouraged to see such interest and commitment from developers, allowing hedgehogs to roam through the night.
“Hedgehog Street, ran by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, aims to ensure that hedgehogs remain a common and familiar part of British life.”
Dominic Harman, regional managing director at Morris, said: “Every development we build has an ecology survey to ensure we protect the living species and contribute to their habitat as much as we can. We’re glad to be the first in Houlton to partner with the Wildlife Trust to support the wonderful work they do in the area.”
The Beacons will feature 183 new homes and create 786 housebuilding jobs, and include 9,000 new shrubs and trees.
Visit www.helpforhedgehogs.co.uk for more information about the Rugby Hedgehog Improvement Area.