New homes for bats and birds planned at Calderdale development site

It isn’t just accommodation for human beings that need to be borne in mind when planning demolition and building new homes.

Species, some of them protected, including bats, birds and hedgehogs use old mill sites for roosting, nesting and as natural highways and developers have to bear this in mind when applying for planning permission.

A fruit bat (Photo credit should read JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

A fruit bat (Photo credit should read JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Developers working on a 14-home development at a Calderdale site have to clear “reserved matters” such as appearance and landscaping, with the borough council before permission can be given for the next stage of work to continue, and these are now pending consideration, outline permission for demolition work having been given earlier this year.

And to address the needs of flora and fauna, developers of the Crimsworth Dyeworks site at Midgehole, Hebden Bridge, have submitted a report to Calderdale Council planners outlining mitigation and compensation measures for roost and nesting sites which are set to be lost while work is carried out.

A supporting report for developer Richard Smith, compiled by ecological consultants Whitcher Wildlife Ltd outlines assessments last year, following on from ones in 2011 and 2015, which show presence of bats and birds including a potential kestrel nesting site.

Natural England have granted a licence which allows bat roosts to be disturbed, setting out how removal should be done with safe rescue and relocation of any found there before demolition.

All demolition processes that will affect bat roost locations will be carried out with an ecologist or their representative present to ensure none are harmed and any found removed to replacement roosts.

The statement also shows what compensation measures are being taken so bats, birds and other animals can still find homes at the site in the years ahead.

These include bat boxes which have been put on trees and restraining walls around parts of the site to provide roosting opportunities, which are in a range of sizes and designs, and “bat bricks”, which will be designed to match wall materials used and be predominantly installed on gable ends of buildings in the location of, or close to, current roosting activity.

Birds surveyed as nesting in the buildings include jackdaws and kestrels and the statement says bird boxes, again in varying sizes, will be put up on trees nearest the site and one kestrel nest box will be put on a tree on the site boundary. Some jackdaw nest boxes will also be provided.

In terms of other wildlife gaps will be created in boundary fencing around the site to allow hedgehogs continued access including into gardens with special holes at the bottom of the fencing, and gates will be similarly designed to allow the animals to pass through.

Work is also likely to allow the removal of non-native invasive species of plant, including Himalayan balsam, Cotoneaster and Rhododendron, enhancing the habitat to the north of the site and prevent them spreading, say Jenny Whitcher Roebuck and Dreek Whitcher in their report.

Roosting and nesting seasons will be avoided where demolition occurs, says the statement.