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