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Have they got newts for you...
NEW homeowners in the Popley area of Basingstoke must be aware of a protected species living right on their doorsteps.
That was the message from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust when a group of nature lovers was taken to see the great crested newts that live at Popley Ponds.
Proposals to build a 450-home development in Popley, which could include a new primary school and community centre, have been lodged with the borough council.
David Jewsbury, assistant reserves officer for the Basingstoke area, said that as a result of the housing plans, it is now more important than ever to protect the newts, and people need to be made aware of them.
Residents came face-to-face with the newts in a move by the wildlife trust and Popley Conservation Volunteers to raise awareness of the animals and other wildlife in the pond.
Mr Jewsbury said: “We want people to be more aware of the ponds so they can come and use the area in a positive way.”
Owned by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Popley Ponds is a popular breeding ground for the protected newts.
Thirty-five people turned out for the event, and children and adults enjoyed pond dipping while learning more about newts and what can be done to help protect them.
Mr Jewsbury said: “We are trying to recruit more people as Conversation Volunteers for Popley as that will increase interest and awareness in saving the newt.
“We are hoping to hold another event like this, possibly once every year, as our first one was so successful.”