A WOMAN known as the Badger Lady says she fears the animals in her garden will be forced to abandon their sett if a housing estate is built.
Jenny Jamieson gets nightly visits from up to six badgers in her back garden.
The 56-year-old buys cold meat cuts, frankfurters and marmalade sandwiches for the nocturnal creatures but says if houses are built on the field they will leave.
Hampshire County Council plans to sell off part of Denmead Junior School’s unused land.
Last year the council held an exhibition giving details of 12 low-cost homes it wanted to build on the site.
Mrs Jamieson, of Old River, Denmead, said: ‘If permission is given for houses, once badgers hear building work going on they will simply move on.
‘It will be a shame because the badgers have been there all those years.
‘Our garden is right by the entrance to the badgers’ sett.
‘We started feeding them along with all the other animals that come into our garden, including birds and baby foxes.
‘I go to the supermarkets at the end of the day when the food is reduced and they call me the Badger Lady.
‘Until we moved here I’d never seen a living badger and now we frequently get as many as six badgers.
‘When we first looked into buying our house, we were aware that there might be a slim possibility that one day the land might be built on.
‘However we thought this would more than likely never happen and it would remain a haven for wildlife.
‘Then when the badgers became neighbours, we felt that these lovely animals had found a home ideally suited for protected wildlife.
‘This is a very sad situation for the badgers.’
Because badgers are a protected species, the local planning authority, in this case Winchester City Council, must carry out ecological surveys and get permission from Natural England before building near to a sett. But planning officer Zoe James said it would not necessarily stop a planning application.
She said: ‘What would happen is we would have to go to Natural England and have an assessment to see whether work would affect it or not. It is up to them to decide whether to issue a license for the works to prevent it from disturbing the sett. They would not necessarily refuse the license.’
The county council is still considering what to do with the site and will decide later in the year.