Bats Delay Plans For Wildlife Trust Building

Wildlife Trust plans for a new St Mary’s headquarters will be delayed because the building they want to knock down and rebuild contains protected wildlife.

Councillors have heard that swallows are nesting in the former research station at Trenoweth and measures will have to be taken to exclude them so that they are not breeding when the work takes place.

Natural England will need to grant a European Species License as bats have also been found during surveys.

They say works should be timed so that re-roofing takes place outside the summer roosting period.

Natural England state that whilst avoiding damage to roosts is the preferred option, the destruction of an existing roost and provision of a new one may be the most suitable option.

The Trust claim there’s not been continued occupation by bats and they will hire a consultant from Cornwall to survey the site again.

Planning Chief Craig Dryden recommended approval of the application but wanted ‘compensation conditions’ to protect the wildlife.

He told members that the problems “weren’t insurmountable,” but Councillor Richard McCarthy felt that the Wildlife Trust should “set an example.”

The Trust say it is cheaper to demolish the existing office building and construct a new one on the same footprint.

The new office building will be rectangular instead of the current ‘L’ shape and the floor space will be 22 sqm greater.

Christine Savill flagged up a safety concern that nobody else picked up on, that the proposed premises will only have one door.

She questioned whether that was acceptable under health and safety conditions with employees using the workspace.

Craig Dryden agreed that was a ‘good point’ and checks would have to be made, but in some premises large windows that people can escape through are thought to be acceptable emergency exits.

Councillors approved the application for the new building with the discussed conditions attached.