Village bats get their own des res

WORK has been carried out to ensure bats in an area of Ponteland are not harmed by a new development.

Retirement builder McCarthy & Stone has incorporated new roosts in the design of its Assisted Living apartments in North Road in order to provide safe and long-term habitats for bats.

Prior to any demolition work of the existing buildings, surveys were carried out to confirm the species that were using the site and exact numbers.

Regional Sales and Marketing Director Fiona Brooks said: “The Northumberland Bat Group was consulted as it held information about the roosts within the site going back a few years.

“To protect the bats, we provided alternative roosts within the site prior to demolition work in the form of bat boxes in the trees.

“We then had to obtain a licence from Natural England to allow the destruction of the buildings and roosts that were present.

“An ecologist supervised the demolition process to ensure we worked in line with the stringent guidelines and sections of the old buildings were taken apart by hand to minimise the risk of harming any bats present.

“We are pleased to say that we have now designed long-term alternative roosts within our new building which has commenced construction and are confident these will gradually be used as pipistrelle bats are always on the lookout for new roosts.”

Work on the 59 new apartments for the over 70s started in November. Communal rooms and additional support services will also be available to residents.