Cambridgeshire is a diverse country, it is most famous for its University in the heart of the county city. However it also consists of rural areas, the Fens, being the most obvious and the other major city of Peterborough. Villages such as March in the north to Gamblingay to the southwest are good examples of rural areas.
Due to the rural and urban mix Cambridgeshire has much in the way of development occurring. Many of these include barn conversions to urban extensions. So, if you are thinking of developing your barn or extending your home for a little bit more space don’t forget to include ecology and bat surveys in your budget!
Do you need planning permission?
Getting the planning permission you need is often difficult and most will employ an Architect or Planning Consultant. These two professions will have a wealth of knowledge in the planning system and more importantly in your area.
However one thing that tends to be forgotten is Ecology. I have lost count of the number of times a client rings me and says ‘I didn’t even know about ecology’ and to be fair that is understandable.
In order to prevent a major shock from the outset, start thinking about ‘triggers’ for ecology or bats early. For instance does your area have tree lined roads? Are there features such as gaps and crevices in the roof? Is there a pond or water-course close by? And remember that you have to think like an animal, not a human. Boundaries mean nothing to a bat flying across an area.
So if any of the triggers are in your area it is likely that the planner or more specifically their consultant ecologist will pick up on them. Cambridgeshire planning authorities will check for these and potentially ask you to undertake a bat or ecology survey.
The way to preventing delays and creating problems for yourself, from an ecological point of view, is to consider it early. Waiting for the planning authority to ask you to do it is pointless if they pick-up on an ecological issue, they will want it dealt with.
As an example, you need a bat survey- waiting until September is going to cause an issue if evidence or potential roosting opportunities are found. The survey season is from May to Sept, but the optimal is May to August. At least two of three surveys have to be completed in the optimal period. Meaning a delay of at least seven months from October onwards if you miss the window.
Frustrating, yes! You will not have considered these costs in your original budget and the delays will cause further time and money!
The point is don’t wait to be told you need ecology or bat survey, it pays getting them done early and knowing where you stand.
Have you been asked for an ecology survey or bat survey in Cambridgeshire? Need advice, a survey or just to get your head around it all? Contact us today for your free quote here.