Lights turned off to protect flying bats
A RETROSPECTIVE application for a temporary car park at the University of Warwick has been approved after the lighting was reduced to protect bats flying in the area.
It was one of a number of conditions proposed, along with a stipulation it only be used for two years and the site be returned to its former condition.
Late submissions to Coventry City Council’s planning committee revealed the university had taken on board a recommendation in an ecologist’s reports that lighting on the north and north-eastern boundaries be removed to protect “foraging and commuting bats”.
The university had applied for a 191-space car park on land to the north of Aca- demic Road close to its Riley Court building which forms part of the Warwick University Science Park, for staff, students and construction workers. The university’s current car parking capacity, which is lower than in 2005, was under pressure from growing numbers of staff and students – plus construction workers travel- ling to a number of major development sites. The latest application forms part of the university’s ongoing masterplan which has seen it given outline planning permission to have 5,422 parking spaces by 2018.
Councillors were told it currently has around 4,500 parking spaces, a lower figure than it had in 2005 as a result of losing spaces due to on-going redevelopment.
Peter Smith, an associate director at Arup who has been advising the university, addressed councillors and said: “The university will manage its car parking to make sure it stops within the maximum allowed.”
He added the university was also committed to a number of sustainable transport initiatives including improved bus services, a car sharing scheme and a bicycle hire scheme. Councillors were told the university has a number of longterm car park plans, including the creation of a 629-space multi-storey car park.
Coun Tim Sawdon (Con, Wainbody) had raised concerns about the traffic implications for Cannon Park and the surrounding area which he believed had worsened recently.
A total of three letters of objection were received raising a number of issues, including that there was inadequate infrastructure to cope with existing and additional traffic and that until that was resolved no more traffic should be allowed.
Councillors unanimously approved the application.