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How bats are stopping a derelict former rail depot from being demolished

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 December 2019

Plans to demolish a former Network Rail depot have been put on hold because bats could roost there. Picture: Archant

Plans to demolish a former Network Rail depot have been put on hold because bats could roost there. Picture: Archant

Archant

Plans to demolish a derelict former rail depot have been put on ice - because the buildings may provide roosting spots for bats.

Network Rail submitted plans to knock down three vacant buildings on Broadsman Close, opposite Norwich City's Carrow Road stadium, in October.

The buildings have been redundant for a number of years, having previously served as accommodation for train crews and the Network Rail is looking to have them demolished.

A planning application was submitted to Norwich City Council to have the site cleared amid fears that it would become a prime target for vandals, squatters and arsonists.

However, it is a different type of potential squatter that has put the brakes on the plan, with concerns over the welfare of bats causing Network Rail to withdraw its plan.

Neil Kernohan, a spokesman for the company, said: "We have had to withdraw the planning for demolition as a Network Rail bat survey identified that the building had the potential for bat roosts.

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"A further bat survey will have to be undertaken during the breeding season - from May in 2020.

"Following this survey we will review the position and, if the survey allows, we will proceed with an application to demolish the buildings."

However, it remains to be seen what the plans for the site would be should the demolition eventually go ahead.

Speaking in October, Network Rail spokesman Martin Spencer said: "The site is a self-contained former goods yard and is part of the property freight estate.

"Previous experience has shown that easily accessed, empty, unsecured buildings have been subject to squatting, vandalism and arson attacks on other sites.

"The main building has been empty for some years. It was purpose-built to be used as train crew accommodation, but these activities ceased on the site a number of years ago and the building has been disused since."

The site is, in part, leased to building suppliers Cemex, while it also stores a number of Network Rail vans alongside the building.

It remains to be seen what the future would hold for the site should the demolition be granted.

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