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LDGD

Delayed planning due to bat roost

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Hi everyone,

 

I was after some advice if possible please. We have a planning application in to build a two storey rear extension on our property. We were due decision on 03/02.  All seemed well, neighbours had both said they were happy with the proposal however the ecologist has asked for a preliminary bat survey to be carried out. They came today and found droppings in the loft which means we need further surveys that cannot happen until May (bat season). My question are as follows:

 

-Can we ask for permission to commence work in the ground up to a point?

-Can we start the ground works and drainage at risk?

-They have said it will take 6 weeks for the survey works - do you then have to go back through full planning submission (8weeks)

 

We currently live in a small two bed house with my daughter and we have a second child due in May so this delay has not only come as a surprised but has caused a lot of upset. I want to try to do everything I can do to minimise the impact of the delay.

 

Any advice would be much appreciated.

 

Many thanks

 

Liam

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Unfortunately you have a delay, I don't think there's anyway around it unless you have an approval in place and this was a condition on the approval. If they are awaiting the bat survey before determining the application then they are unlikely to let any work commence on the site. 

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My advice would be to embrace the principles of bat conservation, engage with the experts, and gently push for a way forward that all parties can live with.  Good luck! (... and that's to the bats too).

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Does your scheme alter the roof in any way ..? There are ways of ensuring bats remain undisturbed and as long as you’re not affecting their entry and exit routes then your scheme should be fine.
 

the downside is you can’t do anything until you have permission and you could find this will take until the middle of the year.  

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Thank you all.

We will be joining the existing pitched roof with a flat roof. So yes will be disturbing it.

 

we will have to get a bay box and tile which is fine and happy to accommodate.

 

it’s the delay that is the problem with the baby. I didn’t know if we could do the work at risk up to first floor blockwork say.

 

we are going 5m out so wouldn’t be PD.

 

I think reading the about, we are basically screwed lol 😆 

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We were delayed by bats fir a year and it’s not like they are rare around here !!!!!,  however I would recommend getting on well with the conservationists, it paid off fir us as the council tried to overturn the recommendation by the “bat people “ (even more bat rules) but they supported me in getting what we wanted and the council were overturned on appeal. 

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45 minutes ago, LDGD said:

Thank you all.

We will be joining the existing pitched roof with a flat roof. So yes will be disturbing it.

 

we will have to get a bay box and tile which is fine and happy to accommodate.

 

it’s the delay that is the problem with the baby. I didn’t know if we could do the work at risk up to first floor blockwork say.

 

we are going 5m out so wouldn’t be PD.

 

I think reading the about, we are basically screwed lol 😆 


Ok - So could you “drop” your plans so the building sits below the roofline slightly ..?? It would mean no disturbance to the roof and therefore you should be fine. Lots of ways to skin this cat but to be honest a fully built extension with no planning approved in 5 months is going to be a serious challenge anyway !

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1 hour ago, LDGD said:

 

it’s the delay that is the problem with the baby. I didn’t know if we could do the work at risk up to first floor blockwork say.

 

 

Do you have a builder ready to start as soon as permission is granted? If not, I think you need to be realistic about having this done before May if that was your intention.

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Bat mitigation gave me a headache and was very expensive. It's not as simple as slapping up a few bat boxes (although I have these, of course). 

 

I possibly have a worst case scenario for you: 

 

If they find bats you will likely have to have a Licence to remove the roosts and relocate the bats from Natural England submitted by the ecologist which is slow, then the validation is time limited. When estimating your timing for the build, be very generous and overestimate so that you don't stress and have to get another licence.  I've spent about £6k so far, plus building ramifications which are hard to quantify. They will keep on surprising you with the requirement for another survey to keep your licence valid (£500 a time)

 

Do plenty of research on ecologists (I just chose one from Google), ask your local council, you might even be able to use local (cheap) bat enthusiasts for the surveys, but make sure they are acceptable to Natural England and that they are recognised for the Licence. My ecologist designed mitigation and I didn't realise the significance at the time or I would have discussed alternatives more. My main worry has been F1 bituminous felt. It stops the roof from breathing so you might have to take care with roof design and look at alternatives. My architect overlooked this till it was too late and I was ill and not fully on the ball. I had to have supervised stripping of the weatherboarding (£300 per day) so as PeterW said if your design can can accommodate not disturbing them, that might be a solution. Also beware 'Batsafe' membrane is not actually bat safe: it's polyester and there are lawsuits pending over its use. 

 

I don't think you can rush this but at least do research now into ways round problems... and maybe buy a caravan for extra space for this summer

Edited by Jilly

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So the ecologist did say on her visit that we should be able to accommodate the bat provisions without altering design. See attached.

 

It doesn’t sound like anybody has had a good experience with this type of thing. and Jilly that sound tough. 
 

We did use an ecologist from google but have talked to the council and they would have recommended them anyhow. 
 

my dad was lined up to the build in Feb. He can easily re arrange as he’s busy. I was thinking that by doing the groundwork’s and first level blockwork/brickwork 2/3 months. Natural break to have baby and have survey works and then start again back end of June with full planning permission.
 

One last question I had was around re submission of planning. Do you have to go back round the 8 weeks again?

 

 

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The planning stayed in the pipeline whilst we waited for bat results (I forget the official term for this), so enquire if they will do this for you.

 

 

(The cheeky wotsits then back dated my application so that I lost some of my 'three years' for commencement). 

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5 hours ago, Jilly said:

Bat mitigation gave me a headache and was very expensive. It's not as simple as slapping up a few bat boxes (although I have these, of course). 

 

I possibly have a worst case scenario for you: 

 

If they find bats you will likely have to have a Licence to remove the roosts and relocate the bats from Natural England submitted by the ecologist which is slow, then the validation is time limited. When estimating your timing for the build, be very generous and overestimate so that you don't stress and have to get another licence.  I've spent about £6k so far, plus building ramifications which are hard to quantify. They will keep on surprising you with the requirement for another survey to keep your licence valid (£500 a time)

 

Do plenty of research on ecologists (I just chose one from Google), ask your local council, you might even be able to use local (cheap) bat enthusiasts for the surveys, but make sure they are acceptable to Natural England and that they are recognised for the Licence. My ecologist designed mitigation and I didn't realise the significance at the time or I would have discussed alternatives more. My main worry has been F1 bituminous felt. It stops the roof from breathing so you might have to take care with roof design and look at alternatives. My architect overlooked this till it was too late and I was ill and not fully on the ball. I had to have supervised stripping of the weatherboarding (£300 per day) so as PeterW said if your design can can accommodate not disturbing them, that might be a solution. Also beware 'Batsafe' membrane is not actually bat safe: it's polyester and there are lawsuits pending over its use. 

 

I don't think you can rush this but at least do research now into ways round problems... and maybe buy a caravan for extra space for this summer

 

When you get your original bat report, it may be possible to negotiate a modest update fee if you go beyond the 2 years which I think is normal for the validity.

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12 hours ago, LDGD said:

we are going 5m out so wouldn’t be PD.


Are you a terrace, semi or detached? In other words, what can you do under PD just to get thing started? Once formal Planning goes through, you could then add it on.

 

As for the re-submission, that would go through another 8 week determination process.

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So just read that you can go 8m off the back of the house under permitted development. 
 

I am right in thinking, we could start the works and get right up to first floor level with blockwork and then break for full planning permission. Commence the build again once it has been granted. 
 

Would I need to apply for anything to do that? 
 

does the situation with the bats effect this? 
 

cheers

 

Liam

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When I had my planning fight with the council we submitted an application with the ground floor what we wanted and the upper floor not but was going to appeal on the upper floor design, reason being we could build up to first floor level whilst the appeal was going ahead. We won the appeal so built what we wanted on the upper floor. So I don’t see why you cannot build up to the roof whilst waiting as you are not disturbing the bats with your work!.

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Bear in mind that as bats are a protected species, this is more than getting around planning restrictions. I would not do anything at all (even ground works) until you've had the OK from a bat ecologist. You've been made aware of the bats, so any activities that result in their disruption or harm (e.g. construction noise/vibration or dust) would likely be looked at very harshly.

 

We wanted to do works on a barn door (in a timber water treatment plant) to get electric cables through for temporary pumps, and the solution our ecologist made us follow was the careful removal of the doors, move them away from the building so we could then drill out holes for the temporary cables and hoses. The noise/vibration could cause the bats to flee their roosts.

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Compromise your design slightly so you dont alter the roof  at all, and just crack on with the extension assuming it’s under the neighbour approval scheme. 

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