Updated Jul 4, 2022

Development dismissed over impact on local bat population

An application for the development of 18 homes in Flintshire, Wales has been refused because of the impact it would have on the local bat population.

The developers appealed the decision after their plans to demolish a detached home and replace it with 18 new homes were opposed by Flintshire County Council. The council claimed that the development's impact on the appearance of the area and the living conditions of neighbours were both issues, and that it would also impact nearby highway safety and ecology.

On appeal, Inspector H W Jones looked at the proposed development's potential effect on the surrounding area’s character and appearance. He noted that the site was surrounded by a variety of different residential buildings, and while the Council argued the density of the proposed development was inappropriate, the Inspector ruled that the site's topography limited possible layouts and the layout for the proposed development would not "unacceptably harm" the area.

The Inspector also dismissed claims made by the Council that the amount of outdoor space available for the proposed homes fell below local standards, citing a lack of evidence to show this, ruling that living conditions of existing residents and future occupiers would be suitable. 

He also dismissed the Council's claim over the development's harmful impact on highway safety, stating that: "The site is in a highly accessible location with good pedestrian access” and found that improved pedestrian facilities would promote active travel."

The final ground the Inspector considered was the impact of the proposed development on local ecology. It was noted that there were Pipistrelle bats within a kilometre of the site, and this posed a serious issue. The development would result in the loss of trees and hedgerows that bats need for roosting and foraging. It was concluded that there is potential for the development to harm the bat population and the development would fail to increase biodiversity at the site. Consequently, the Inspector dismissed the appeal, stating that the benefits of the development would be outweighed by the impact of the homes on the local bat population.