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Last Updated: Monday, 25 April, 2005, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Bats given care home 'birth box'
A pipistrelle bat
The bats have been using the home to give birth
The delayed revamp of a care home for the elderly has got under way after the future of a colony of bats was secured.

The pipistrelle bats have been using Spencer Court in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, as a place to give birth.

The demolition of the home had to be put on hold while a heated "maternity box" was set up for the bats, along with a number of ordinary bat boxes.

The home is being redeveloped as part of a scheme to bring former council homes up to modern standards by 2007.

'In the mood'

Investigations found that the bats liked to use the building as "a maternity hospital" between May and October, a county council spokeswoman said.

She added that holding up the start of the work gave home managers the Orders of St John an opportunity to "erect an artificially-heated bat maternity box ready for when the bats are in the mood next month".

The home's 45 residents were moved in March to a temporary home at Witan House in Witney, where they will stay until the makeover is completed next Spring.

The new home will be a two-storey 46-bed building with en-suite facilities.

Nigel Holmes, the county council's social and health care service manager, said: "I'm happy to say that the residents have settled in well in their temporary home at Witney, but I'm sure they are keen to move into the new Spencer Court next year.

"I hope the bats will enjoy their new home too."

Spencer Court is one of 10 homes that are being redeveloped after 19 were transferred from the county council to the Oxfordshire Care Partnership.

Elderly couple together again
08 Nov 02 |  England

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