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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 February 2006, 18:15 GMT
Bats could delay healthcare plans
Pipistrelle bat
A bat survey could be carried out before demolition
A healthcare development planned for Aberdeen could be held up while a bat survey is carried out.

Plans for a nursing home, a facility for young disabled people and 106 supported accommodation units are going before councillors next week.

However, checks will have to be made to see if bats are nesting at the site of the former Tor-na-Dee hospital.

Scottish Natural Heritage said a bat licence could be required before demolition begins.

Planners at Aberdeen City Council have recommended that the planning committee should indicate that they are willing to approve the application, but withhold consent until the bat issue is resolved.

Bat survey

The 5.4 hectare site includes the buildings and grounds of the Milltimber hospital which is on green belt land.

Margaret Bochel, the council's head of planning, said a recent bat survey found no evidence that the site contained any bat roosts and confirmed that a previous roost has been abandoned.

However, the survey warned that the presence or absence of bats could only be confirmed by a survey during the summer when the mammals were most likely to roost.

In her report, Dr Bochel said that if the buildings were used by bats there was "no doubt" they would be affected by the proposed development which would involve demolishing most of the buildings.

She said: "It is recommended that the city council indicates a willingness to approve at this stage, and that consent is withheld until the Scottish Executive grants a bat licence for the demolition work, or confirms in writing that no bat licence is required."

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