Bats still holding up demolition of derelict building after five years

Bats are continuing to prevent the demolition of an abandoned care home on Jarrow’s Scotch Estate which has stood empty for five years.

By Tony Gillan
Thursday, 19th August 2021, 4:43 pm

Approval for demolition of the former Perth Green House on Inverness Road was given in December 2017. However, bats were discovered living there.

The main building, plus a plant room a few metres away, formerly made up the South Tyneside Council residential home, which was also a facility for older people recovering from illness or injury.

The buildings have stood idle since 2016, when staff were transferred to the new Haven Court centre in the grounds of South Tyneside Hospital.

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Perth Green House can't be demolished until bats decide to live elsewhere.

Since then the old two-storey property and plant room have become overgrown outside, and a target for vandals both inside and outside. Both buildings are boarded up.

Demolition was sought, but bats were discovered roosting inside. Bats of any species are protected by law, whether or not the building they live in is occupied.

The council wants to develop the land where the buildings stand. They told the Gazette in May that another bat survey would be carried out this summer to see if the animals had moved on. That survey has now been completed and the bats haven’t budged.

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: "We completed further bat surveys in June and July of this year, which confirmed that bats are still using the remaining section of Perth Green House as a maternity roost.

The plant room at Perth Green House can be demolished, but not the main building.

“As bats are a protected species, we will have to re-submit a license to Natural England for their removal and relocation. However we are proceeding with the demolition of the detached plant room.”

All 18 species of bats in England and Wales are protected by law. The animals have been declared an endangered species and a European Protected Species.

The law also says that bats can not be simply removed by force. Anyone wishing to bulldoze a building must simply wait until bats have left of their own accord.

Government guidelines say: “You may be able to get a licence from Natural England if you cannot avoid disturbing them or damaging their habitats, or if you want to survey or conserve them.”

Perth Green House has become a target for vandals since closing in 2016.

One Scotch Estate resident told the Gazette: “I’m sick of the sight of that building. We just want it gone.”

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Perth Green House can't be demolished until bats decide to live elsewhere.