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Batty guests stop group's new hall plans

A community group's plans for redeveloping their hall have been dealt a blow after the discovery of some unusual house guests in the building’s roof space.

Bat

A community group's plans for redeveloping their hall have been dealt a blow after the discovery of some unusual house guests in the building’s roof space.

Drumsurn Community Association was awaiting planning permission for a new hall following the closure of its old building over health and safety concerns.

Now the new development is on hold after surveyors alerted the group to the possibility of bats roosting in the roof space.

There are strict guidelines surrounding bats in the UK and when a roost is discovered during building works, a relevant statutory nature conservation organisation must be contacted for advice.

Joe Nunez-Mino, from the Bat Conservation Trust, said: “In the UK bat populations have declined considerably over the last century which is why all bats and their roosts are protected by law.

"As natural roosting sites have become scarce due to land use changes, some species now use buildings.

“When undertaking any building or development work carefully considering whether bats may be present from the onset can help reduce any unexpected delays or costs.

“The first step in any development or building works should be to gain an ecological assessment of the site from a suitably qualified ecological consultant.”

The community association say they will be unable to move forward with plans until a survey is completed to confirm the presence of bats in the roof space and this cannot take place until the end of the bat hibernation season at the end of March.

In a statement posted on Drumsurn Community Association's Facebook page, the group said: “While this is frustrating, we have to work within the law/ guidelines.

“In the meantime, we are working hard to make our own building safe to be able to use for the next few months. We will keep you all updated.

“Youth-club as well as other community activities will re-start in the next couple of weeks.

"We will let you all know in advance of the start date.”

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