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Council calls for bat and nesting birds protection

Species - Pipistrelle Bat

Cheshire East Council has called for measures to protect protected bat species and nesting birds in a proposed Macclesfield town centre development.

In the Canal Street scheme by developers Silkdale Living, an application has been submitted for ten three-bedroom townhouses and four two-bedroom apartments, following the demolition or existing disused buildings. A decision has not yet been made by the planning committee.

A report on the application by Cheshire East Council’s nature conservation officer calls for a survey to determine the extent of roosting bats and says "if bats are present, the developer will need a licences from Natural England to develop the site".

Also concerned about birds, the report says that if planning consent is given, demolition and conversion of buildings should not take place between 1st March and 31st August unless a survey has been carried out  to check for nesting species.

It states: "Where nests are found in any building, hedgerow, tree or scrub, to be converted or demolished, a 4m exclusion zone shall be left around the nest until breeding is complete." And it calls for the developers to incorporated into the new scheme features suitable for use by breeding swifts

Because the development is less than 15 houses, no affordable housing is required on the site under the Cheshire East local plan.

In 2010, an application in East Cheshire to demolish Langley House, a Victorian mansion overlooking the River Dean, to build a 53-bed care home was withdrawn, when conservation officers discovered the presence of protected pipistrelle bats in the building. It was recommended that planning permission should not be granted.

Another Macclesfield town centre development, in Fountain Street, on the site of the Arighi Bianchi warehouse may be delayed because of potential site contamination. The 14-home project is also by Silkdale Living. Rebekah Norbury, planning enforcement officer, said: "Currently we would recommend refusal of this application, as we are aware of former metal and chemical works on the site."

The report calls for a phase 1 preliminary risk assessment and says that contaminated land pre-commencement planning conditions are likely to be imposed.

A third proposed Macclesfield development, by the Regenda Group, for eight three-bedroom houses and six one-bedroom apartments at Cuckstoolspit Hill is on the site of salt store previously used by Macclesfield town council.

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