Demolition work at Melton’s former War Memorial Hospital site looks set to begin in March despite bats and muddy conditions holding up progress.
As previously reported in the Melton Times plans to build 98 homes at the site on Ankle Hill have already been approved, subject to conditions, by the borough council’s planning committee.
Birmingham-based developer Projects 2000 Ltd intends to build 40 homes as well as a block of 38 retirement apartments on the site. It also plans the part-conversion and part-demolition of the Grade II listed Wyndham Lodge - the old hospital - to provide 10 homes and the conversion of the Grade II listed stable block into 10 apartments. The conversions also required listed building consent.
As part of its plans the developer also intends to demolish the former Warwick Cottage hospital building as well as on-site dwellings 22 and 24 Ankle Hill.
Trees have already been removed from the site - which the council has previously said was done ‘in accordance with those permitted’.
Work at the site has temporarily halted after a protected species survey, carried out last year, found that bats roost in three of the buildings.
It means the developer must now provide a temporary habitat for the bats before any demolition work begins, by providing bat boxes on existing trees at the site. Permanent replacement habitat features are to be installed in new houses to be built on the site. Two bat lofts will also be installed under the gable roofs on Wyndham Lodge.
A spokesman for the company Wyndham Lodge Developments said work had stopped at the site because it was ‘very muddy’, adding it was now waiting for a formal ‘bat licence’ from Natural England. The spokesman added work was expected to re-start in early March and that he’d be ‘surprised’ if the whole development wasn’t completed within three years.
Jim Worley, Melton Council’s head of regulatory services, said: “We’ve received an application detailing the provision for bats but have not yet agreed that. The other relevant condition requires the archaeological provisions to take place before demolition of the buildings or new development takes place. We have not received a submission, nor therefore approved one. We are aware, however, that the developers are in discussion with archaeological advisors, presumably to devise a suitable plan, which will then be submitted to us for approval as the conditions require.”