Controversial free school’s move in doubt – because of bats

The Bournemouth Daily Echo is reporting that a local free school’s controversial move to a new site has been threatened by a colony of bats…

Parkfield School’s controversial move to a site near Bournemouth Airport appears to be in doubt following the discovery of a colony of bats in the buildings.

The Daily Echo understands the move to the former air training college at Hurn could be postponed less than three months before pupils are due to start lessons there…

The discovery is the latest in a series of setbacks which has seen senior staff at Bournemouth’s only Free School struggle to find a suitable, permanent location.

Principal Terry Conaghan told the Daily Echo: “We were informed last week that the most recent ecology surveys at the new site in Hurn had identified the presence of bats in some of the existing buildings.

“All bats and their roosts are legally protected in the UK and there is a strict process that has to be followed in law. The discovery of bats and the legal requirements surrounding their protection is beyond both the school’s and the contractor’s control.”

He said he is currently in discussion with the government to see if changes are necessary to the phasing of work planned at the site and said options will be considered at a meeting this afternoon “as to the best way to manage the situation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our students, parents, staff and the wildlife.”

Mr Conaghan said Parkfield School “will be open this coming September,” but he did not specify at which location…

More at: Parkfield free school’s move to airport in doubt – because of bats

 

Bat colonies can be a real problem for planning so it will be interesting to see just how much of a disruption this discovery causes here…

 

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