In a bid to win planning permission to build flats close to conservation area, a major builder has said that it will put a clause in the title deeds to ban cats.
George Wimpey has made the offer to ban cats in order to persuade planners that the new homes will not affect rare birds in a nearby nature reserve. The move is part of an ongoing battle between conservationists and house-builders who want to construct homes on greenfield sites. If approved, the plans for Crowthorne, Berkshire, could create a wider precedent.
Cats have been blamed for killing 55m birds and 220m other creatures each year (see the feature Cats and garden wildlife
). That damage to wildlife has prompted English Nature to object to many new developments planned for land close to important wildlife reserves. This has helped block the construction of thousands of homes around reserves such as the Thames Basin Heaths special protection area, whose border is close to the Crowthorne site. Wimpey hopes the cat ban, which would be binding on all future owners, would overcome such objections.