NEW BARN FOR BATS

...so de­mo­li­tion of ‘eye­sore’ ho­tel moves a step closer:

Caernarfon Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Gareth Wyn Wil­liams

ACOLONY of bats will be re­housed to al­low the de­mo­li­tion of a derelict ho­tel.

Har­lech’s St David’s ho­tel was built in 1910 but local res­i­dents have raised con­cern over the eye­sore build­ing since its clo­sure in 2008.

As a re­sult, the Snow­do­nia Na­tional Park Au­thor­ity (SNPA) has now ap­pointed a con­trac­tor to build a bat barn and of­fer a new home for the ho­tel’s colony of bats as they pre­pare for its even­tual de­mo­li­tion.

This fol­lows a long-run­ning dis­pute be­tween the au­thor­ity and the ho­tel’s own­ers since the is­su­ing of an en­force­ment no­tice in 2015 to de­mol­ish the build­ing af­ter it was de­clared un­safe.

Aitchi­son As­so­ci­ates has so far paid out £21,900 in fines for fail­ing to com­ply with the en­force­ment no­tice.

A spokesper­son for the SNPA said: “Although the de­mo­li­tion of the build­ing is still sub­ject to se­cur­ing fund­ing, the Au­thor­ity is keen to ad­dress other is­sues to help fa­cil­i­tate the work should fund­ing be­come avail­able.

“A key is­sue here is the build­ing of a struc­ture within which the bats that cur­rently re­side in the ho­tel can be trans-lo­cated. All species of bats and their roosts are pro­tected by law, and the au­thor­ity is work­ing with spe­cial­ists ecol­o­gists on this is­sue.

“To this end the Na­tional Park Au­thor­ity, with per­mis­sion of the own­ers, have ap­pointed a con­trac­tor to con­struct a small bat barn on the site.

“Weather per­mit­ting, work will take place on site be­tween the be­gin­ning of Jan­uary and mid March 2019.”

Jonathan Caw­ley, the SNPA’s di­rec­tor for plan­ning and land man­age­ment, added: “Con­struct­ing the bat barn is an im­por­tant part in the process of re­mov­ing the eye­sore that is the derelict ho­tel.

“We will con­tinue to pur­sue the is­sue of de­mo­li­tion, but there are still sig­nif­i­cant con­straints to over­come - with fi­nanc­ing the work be­ing the pri­mary is­sue.”

In 2009, Aitchi­son As­so­ci­ates was granted plan­ning con­sent to de­mol­ish the build­ing and re­place it with a new 130 bed­room ho­tel and 76 hol­i­day apart­ments, but these plans have never come to fruition.

But hav­ing re­sisted the pre­vi­ous Sec­tion 215 no­tice to de­mol­ish the ho­tel com­pletely by April, 2017, the SNPA is now con­sid­er­ing im­ple­ment­ing Sec­tion 219, which al­lows au­thor­i­ties to un­der­take work by de­fault and to then re­cover the costs from the own­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to the au­thor­ity, the ho­tel’s “un­sightly ap­pear­ance se­ri­ously de­tracts from the sur­round­ing vicin­ity and pre­vents the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of Har­lech”.

● The for­mer St David’s Ho­tel in Har­lech

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