The central lodge building at Stewart Park is currently undergoing extensive new refurbishment work to convert the old building into a new educational facility for use by Askham Bryan college, one of the country’s leading land based colleges, to establish a new base for students in Middlesbrough. Read more about the project here.
EcoNorth undertook bat surveys to inform both the planning application and the nature of the renovation works. These were required due to the buildings’ age, and location in the centre of Stewart Park which provides excellent habitat for these rare and protected mammals.
A total of six of the eight bat species currently found in the local area were found to be roosting within this Grade II listed building, including all pipistrelle species (common, soprano and nathusius) Daubenton’s bat, Brandt’s bat and the charismatic brown long-eared bat.
Roofing repairs and refurbishment of the attic rooms progressed with care under the watchful eye of our team of bat ecologists following a European protected species mitigation licence issued by Natural England to allow the disturbance of the animals during the development.
A purpose-built bat loft structure has been created within the roof void inside a small section of the building to provide the animals with an alternative home, while keeping them out of the living area of the building. This is in addition to the installation of purpose built bat boxes on the exterior of the building to provide extra roosting opportunities, proving that wildlife friendly development is possible; the project is creating new educational opportunities for young people in the area while protecting our natural heritage.