Following a positive meeting facilitated by Neil Parish MP. With East Devon District Council planners, and Natural England hopes are high that the project is finally back on track and heading for a solution. If all goes well. Lyme Bay Leisure (LBL) are looking to start on site this summer.
The problem was the lack of bat survey information on which to base flight bat disturbance mitigation measures. However, following consultation with respected and renown conservationists it was possible to identify flight paths from current available data and expert local knowledge and to identify mitigation measures. Natural England and EDDC accepted this approach as an appropriate way forward that didn’t jeopardize future habitats for existing bats and the flight routes across the site.
LBL agreed to make significant changes to the scheme to re-house existing bats in a purpose built roost and to safeguard routes across the site with changes to the landscaping and the site lighting scheme and to reduce development in certain areas of the site.
The revised scheme will be resubmitted to EDDC in the next week or so with the required changes and with the approval of the EDDC and Natural England it is hoped to have a planning consent by April or May this spring, leading to a start on construction this summer.
David Sullivan, Chairman of Lyme Bay Leisure said that ‘’we are grateful to Neil Parish for setting up this meeting and to EDDC and Natural England for showing the willingness to find a balance without compromising the stability of the bat population, treasuring local ecology, yet enabling development to go ahead bringing with it much needed jobs and visitors to East Devon.’’
James Hetherington, Managing Director, thanked ‘’the local ecologists and bat conservationists who encouraged us to keep going and helped devise strategies which offered protection to bats and wildlife. LBL takes very seriously its responsibilities for wildlife protection. As a local business we have an interest in retaining the area’s natural beauty as a place we want visitors to continue to visit’’