Sunday, 2 December 2018

East Budleigh objects to application to demolish habitat of 11 species of bat

Bats have an annoying habit of getting in the way of development - but that can be sorted with a bit of 'mitigation' or 'offsetting':
Futures Forum: Demolishing the home of several species of rare bats - with the promise of providing a new building 'designed to provide conditions more suitable for breeding bats'

Last month, an application to do just this was considered:
Futures Forum: East Budleigh to consider application to demolish habitat of 11 species of bat > Tuesday 6th November

Local Councillors are not happy, as reported recently in the Herald:

Parish council has ‘stronger reservations’ about housing plans for East Budleigh bat habitat

PUBLISHED: 09:34 20 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:34 20 November 2018
The Pound, in East Budleigh, which is subject to a planning application to demolish a barn which is thought to be home to speciies of rare bats. Picture: Google

The Pound, in East Budleigh, which is subject to a planning application to demolish a barn which is thought to be home to speciies of rare bats. Picture: Google

Wildlife concerns have been raised over a plan to demolish the home of roosting rare bats in East Budleigh to make way for a new house.

An amended application by landowner Clinton Devon Estates to demolish a barn on an area of village green space known as ‘The Pound’ is seeking to construct a separate ‘bat barn’ on the site as mitigation for concerns raised for rare species of bats.
At an extraordinary parish council planning meeting held at the village hall, residents raised fears that lighting from the dwelling may deter bats from using their new habitat and the village could lose its rare bats.
Councillors, who previously supported the application, said they now had ‘stronger reservations’ about the proposal and want to see a lighting strategy put in place prior to development. They also want a period of 12 months between the bat barn and the house being built to allow bats to get used to their new home.
Village resident Cathy Moyle chairs the East Budleigh Parish Wildlife Conversation Group set up earlier this year to fight the ‘destruction’ of the wildlife habitat.
Speaking at the meeting, she said: “If the light impact cannot be resolved, then in accordance with legislation, the planning permission should be refused.
“If, unfortunately, the application does get approved, then conditions should be placed on the planning permission that no artificial external lighting should be erected by future occupants.
“As the application stands, there is likely to be a significant adverse impact on the conservation status of, in particular, the international rare greater and lesser horseshoe and the exceptionally rare grey long-eared bat.”
Karen Alexander-Clarke, secretary of the conservation group, added: “We have incredibly rare bats in our village, they are European-protected species and there is no mitigation measure that is guaranteed to be successful.
“Clinton Devon Estates are involved with many conservation projects and seems to be incredibly proud of what they are doing for bats in the rest of the county yet they want to destroy a roost in their own parish.”
East Devon District Council will make the final decision on the application at a later date.

East Budleigh praish leaders raise concerns over housing development | Latest Exmouth News - Exmouth Journal

Here are the minutes of that meeting:

Minutes of the East Budleigh with Bicton Parish Council 

Extra Planning Meeting Tuesday, 6 November 2018

The Pound, Lower Budleigh, EB 
Demolition of existing barn and construction of a single dwelling. 


The Council reviewed extra information relating to the above Application, specifically:- 
* The Consultation Response to EDDC by Encompass Ecology Ltd dated 18th October 2018 
* The Second Report by Richard Green Ecology (October 2018 v 1.1) 
* The Letter of Representation from the East Budleigh Parish Wildlife Protection and Conservation Group (EBPWPCG) dated 17th September 2018. 

The Council’s views can be summarised as follows:- 

The Issue of Bats 
1. Councillors agreed with Encompass Ecology and Richard Green Ecology that the bat barn must be built before the destruction of the existing barn. In this regard the Council believed 
(a) it is important that a Schedule of Works be submitted to the EDDC to explain how the perceived difficulties with this work could be overcome and 
(b) it will be essential to allow a suitable period – 1 year was suggested by some parishioners - between the construction of the new barn and the destruction of the existing barn to allow migration of bats from the existing roost to the new barn. 
2. Councillors agreed with Encompass Ecology that 
(a) lighting may be an issue, 
(b) that no lighting should be positioned on the bat barn and 
(c) that the light spill on the barn should be quantified and should be no more than 0.5 – 1.0 lux as measured at the new bat barn and “flight corridor” of the bats on a moonless night. The Council were of the opinion that a lighting lux plan, as proposed by Encompass Ecology, should be made public. 
3. Councillors noted that the Report from Richard Green Ecology acknowledges that rare bats roost in the existing barn. (Details are given in the EBPWPCG Letter). Also Councillors noted that Natural England has yet to issue a licence for this development. Councillors believed that, prior to the grant of a licence, Natural England should conduct a survey of the species of bat present in the existing barn given to the rarity of some species. Councillors agreed with Encompass Ecology that it is regrettable that such a survey is not available. 
4. Councillors noted that EDDC will be mindful of the Habitats Directive Article 12.1 and Conservation and Habitat and Species Regulation 2010 (as amended) when considering this Application. Other Issues The Driveway Councillors concluded that the proposed driveway would replace an existing driveway and hence would not create an issue, provided appropriate care was taken not to disturb the roots of the adjacent trees. 

Councillors were appraised that scrub had already been cleared from around the site which may have disturbed dormice in the vicinity. 

Conclusion and Recommendation 
Councillors present at this Planning Meeting understood that they did not have the authority to change the Parish Council’s previous decision (i.e. no objection) on this Application. However an informal show of hands at the Planning Meeting showed that the majority of Councillors objected to the Application, in part because of the new information received. The clerk will contact EDDC to verify the position regarding a change of Minuted decisions within the 6 month regulation period.


And here's the application waiting at the District Council for a final decision - together with comments:
18/1464/FUL | Demolition of existing barn and construction of a single dwelling | The Pound Lower Budleigh East Budleigh

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