Ker­pow! New bat cave is in Romi­ley

Stockport Express - - Front Page - DOMINIC SMITHERS news­ @MENnews­desk

HUN­DREDS of squat­ters have been evicted from a house af­ter they caused a bit of a flap.

That’s be­cause the un­wanted guests are ac­tu­ally a colony of around 600 bats who had taken up roost in the house near Romi­ley.

De­spite the best ef­forts of the owner to get rid of the un­wanted vis­i­tors, con­ser­va­tion­ists also got in­volved to help clear out the in­fes­ta­tion.

Now, in a bid to help re­house the crea­tures, coun­cil bosses have taken the un­usual step of build­ing a real-life ‘bat cave’ - a state of the art hut in nearby Etherow Coun­try Park.

Team­ing up with South Lan­cashire Bat Group and the Friends of Etherow Group, Stock­port coun­cil hopes the hut will help pro­tect the area’s lo­cal species.

A spokesman for Stock­port coun­cil said: “It came about af­ter a ma­ter­nity roost of So­prano pip­istrelles was ex­cluded, un­der li­cence, from a nearby house.

“So­prano pip­istrelles are known to have a pun­gent smell when in large num­bers, as was the case here where there were over 600 bats pre­sent.

“The roost was di­rectly over the owner’s son’s bed­room, which was be­com­ing un­pleas­ant, so the ex­clu­sion was agreed at the end of the sea­son.

“It is hoped that the so­prano roost will re­lo­cate to this bat house to es­tab­lish a ma­ter­nity colony that can be mon­i­tored over the com­ing years.”

There are hopes the new home will be used by other species as well.

By tak­ing an ex­ist­ing out­build­ing and adapt­ing it to the crea­tures’ needs, the bats’ new home cost just £2,200. Coun­cil bosses re­cy­cled a pre­ex­ist­ing out­build­ing, fully adapt­ing it to make it ‘bat friendly’ and high-tech so­lar pan­els were fit­ted to keep the winged crea­tures warm.

Greater Manch­ester Tree Sta­tion do­nated wooden cladding, pro­vid­ing plenty of nooks and cran­nies for them to roost in.

And, set back on 240 acres of fields and wood­land, it might just have the best gar­den in Stock­port.

The UK is cur­rently home to 18 species of bats and, ac­cord­ing to the coun­cil, seven have been recorded in the park and 10 are be­lieved to be lo­cal to Stock­port.

And now with the state of the art home, it is the hope of the coun­cil that this new bat house will see the pop­u­la­tion thrive.

Coun­cil­lor Sheila Bai­ley, Stock­port coun­cil’s cabi­net mem­ber for com­mu­ni­ties and hous­ing, said: “It is vi­tal that we take steps to pro­tect and en­hance our lo­cal bio­di­ver­sity, in­clud­ing main­tain­ing valu­able na­ture and green space re­sources for the lo­cal com­mu­nity to en­joy and safe­guard­ing them for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

The new bat house was com­pleted on Satur­day July 15.

●●The new state of the art ‘bat cave’ in Etherow Park

Harry Hogg

●●A pip­istrelle bat

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