Bats are to get a home of their own as part of the redevelopment of RAF Upwood into a housing and commercial area.
Developer Evera Homes has been given the go-ahead to build a “bat barn” as part of a scheme to construct 160 homes and two hectares of business space at the all but derelict base which has been repeatedly targeted by arsonists.
The bat barn is one of two scheduled for construction to offset the impact of construction.
The move has been approved by Huntingdonshire District Council, subject to conditions including details of construction and planting in a landscaping programme.
RAF Upwood has been disused for many years and a long history of arson attacks has wrecked many of the buildings on the site, which is adjacent to the community of Bury.
There have been attempts over the years to redevelop the redundant base, but these but ran into problems with poor infrastructure around the site, especially the narrow rural roads. Now a total of 450 homes, including the Evera scheme, are in the pipeline.
The bat barn scheme has been welcomed by Bury Parish Council which is keen to seen the redevelopment of the site which is becoming an eyesore and safety hazard.
It said in its response to the planning application: “The parish council voted unanimously in favour to support the installation of a bat barn, on the basis that the installations will expedite the demolition works to the derelict buildings.”
In its application agents for Evera said: “This application is one of two which relate to bat barns to mitigate the impact on ecology as a result of the removal of buildings on the RAF Upwood site.
“The presence of bats at the site has been confirmed. In order to be able to demolish the proposed mitigation must be in place in order for Natural England to grant an European Protected Species (EPS) Licence.”
The barn includes features to allow bats access to roost under tiles, unplaned timbers which the creature can grip, space to fly freely and to create maternity roosts.