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Anger mounts over business park demolition plan which could put bats at risk in derelict pub


ANY bats roosting in the former Noggin pub at Risley would have to be safeguarded before any demolition works took place as part of controversial plans to redevelop the nearby Trident Business Park, which has angered nearby residents.

More than 90 local residents have already objected to proposals put forward by applicant St Modwen Developments to Warrington Borough Council for planning permission involving the demolition of existing buildings and to replace them with two large warehouses.

The 3.37-hectare site is located north of Daten Avenue and west of Trident Way and currently comprises a variety of ‘dated employment buildings’, the former Noggin pub and areas of car parking and landscaping.

St. Modwen’s Planning Application (2021/40696) involves the Demolition of existing premises and redevelopment of site to provide buildings for employment use (use classes E(g)(iii) / B8), access and car parking, landscaping, and associated works, on Land at Trident Business Park, north of Daten Avenue, west of Trident Way, Warrington. Two new large warehouses would be cladded in silver, metallic or grey metal.

A report from ecologist David Dutton reveals a bat roost has been located in one of the buildings to be demolished – the nearby derelict Noggin pub. Other ecological issues include nesting birds and biodiversity mitigation and enhancement Proximity to Manchester Mosses SAC and Risley Moss SSSI. He says the development is located within 2km of the Manchester Mosses SAC. The development is however, separated by continuous urban development and is a commercial redevelopment of an existing commercial site. There is therefore unlikely to be a significant change in site usage.

The buildings and trees on the site were assessed for bat roosting potential. Of the eight buildings, six were assessed as having negligible or negligible to low bat roosting potential, one as having low potential and one as moderate potential. Two trees were assessed as having low potential. The two buildings with low and moderate potential were subject to bat emergence surveys. A bat roost was located in one building the former Noggin public house identified as building 2 in the ecological report.

Mr Dutton said: “A license will be required for the demolition of the former public house. Given the low number of bats recorded, I am satisfied that the conservation status of the bats can be maintained, through proportionate mitigation and that Natural England will issue a license. I, therefore, recommend a condition along the following lines is applied to any permission.
The demolition of the former Noggin Public House (B2) is likely to cause harm to bats as identified in the Bat Inspection (Emergence) and Dawn (Re-entry) Survey Report by SK Environmental Solutions Ltd Report Ref. JN00502 D02 and shall not in any circumstances commence unless the local planning authority has been provided with either:
a) a license issued by Natural England pursuant to Regulation 55, of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 authorising the specified activity/development go ahead: or
b) a statement in writing form the relevant licensing body to the effect that it does not consider that the specified development will require a license.

Whilst the buildings B1 and B3 to B8 have been assessed as negligible risk for bats, the applicant is reminded that under the 2019 Regulations it is an offence to disturb, harm or kill bats. If a bat is found during demolition all work should cease immediately and a suitably licensed bat worker employed to assess how best to safeguard the bat(s). Natural England should also be informed.

More than 90 objections have been received to date from local residents, including one, an environmental consultant with over 20 years of experience in construction and engineering, who said
they had a number of serious concerns including the protection of bats, stating that in Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

“Due to this, I believe that without robust and appropriate mitigation (which Natural England may not even agree to or provide a Licence for), the proposed development directly contravenes the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) (as amended) and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2017) (as amended) due to the intentional disturbance of bats in their roost, deliberate disturbance of a group of bats and damage and destruction of a place used by bats for breeding or resting (roosts) (even if bats are not occupying the roost at the time).

Another resident from Cross Lane South said: “I strongly object to the St Modwen Developments Ltd application for a 12.5m high, 24 hour warehouse that will not only tower above the existing houses, but will block out the natural light and keep the residents awake at night with lots of noise from lorries, reversing alarms and noise from forklift trucks as they are loaded and offloaded.

One local resident from Warrington Road added: “Why are such warehouses even being considered being built opposite residential properties, bwhen Risley and Birchwood Area is full of empty units erected and space available away from the houses, this also includes units over a period time which have remained unoccupied on the Trident Site?

Another resident on Cross Lane South added:” Besides the atrocious monster of a warehouse twice the height of surrounding houses, the impact of traffic on Warrington Road and Daten Road will create more misery. It takes me an average of five to ten minutes to turn right from Cross Lane South in the morning, I can only imagine how long it going to take to should this be built.”

An existing tenant said: “I have nothing against the application as such but must ask the council to offer help to all the many small businesses who are currently operating from the buildings to be demolished. Some may have to give up their business and if not struggle to find new premises in the area. We have been here 25 years and having looked around there is very little small industrial units around.”

A design and access statement by Manchester-based UMC architects states that currently on the existing site, there is a large, single-storey industrial unit, “Trident Industrial Estate” which is let for different uses such as storages, garages etc. It is the largest unit on the proposed site and it is constructed out of red brick. It is connected to another building which is slightly higher (1.5 storey height), and has light colour cladding on the facades. A series of parking spaces are provided on site, for better access to the existing units and buildings.”

The key principles of the development are to Contribute directly to creating safe, attractive spaces with high-quality buildings and landscape.
The proposed units are sleek and simple in design, with a contemporary colour palette and glazed areas providing a good quality office environment. Key consideration has been given to the landscaping at the park entrance, giving a sense of arrival and a high quality finish to the shared areas.

The aim is create sustainable, well-designed buildings, which are good places to work. The yards are to be securely contained and shielded with fencing and offer secure car parking away from HGV Vehicles where appropriate. Car parks are overlooked by the office area and separate entrances for cars and HGVs have been established where appropriate. It will ensure inclusive design to allow for a good level of accessibility within and between buildings.

The former Noggin pub


About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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