Charity expresses concern over Welsh Harp development plans

How the landscape of the Welsh Harp could look if the plans are given the green light.

How the landscape of the Welsh Harp could look if the plans are given the green light. - Credit: Archant

The Canal and River Trust said reservoir must keep its ecological status

A national charity which looks after and protects waterways across the country has expressed concern over a major housing development on the edge of a popular reservoir.

The Canal and River Trust (CRT), which is responsible for maintaining around 2,000 miles of rivers and waterways across England and Wales, has said it is important to protect the Brent Reservoir.

The reservoir, which borders Barnet and Brent and is popularly known as the Welsh Harp, is currently under threat from a development which could see around 2,000 new homes including four tower blocks dumped on its borders.

In Brent, a campaign has been launched to stall the application amid fears it will spoil the unique view, have an adverse affect on the area’s natural wildlife and cause an increase in traffic.

Leela O’Dea, environment manager at the CRT told the Times: “The Welsh Harp is a haven for a wide range of birds, bats and other wildlife, and it’s important that it retains its special ecological status.”

Earmarked as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) the area is home to both birds and other wildlife and is a popular destination for residents both in Brent and beyond.

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Ms O’Dea added: “We’ve raised our concerns with the developers to ensure that they can demonstrate there’ll be no adverse impact on the environment.”

According to CRT’s official website they pledge to; inspire more people to enjoy waterways, Ensuring they are open, accessible and safe and Minimising the impact made on scarce resources.

The application, from Barrett Homes will be considered by Barnet Council.

A Barratt Metropolitan LLP spokesman said they shared campaigners’ wish to preserve and maintain the reservoir and its wildlife.

He said: “A strong green buffer will run along the entire length of the eastern shore of the reservoir with buildings a minimum of 20 metres from the SSSI boundary and, typically, 40 metres from the reservoir.

“There will be new areas of tree planting, wetland and grassland, and species-specific bird habitats will be created within the parks and gardens, and the buildings will also have a range of green and brown roofs.

“A full environmental assessment - which looks at the potential impact the development could have on views, wildlife, recreation and traffic - has now been submitted to Barnet Council.”