Bats still holding up demolition of ‘eyesore’ Jarrow building after six years

A boarded-up, vandalised building which was vacated six years ago still can’t be demolished until bats no longer live there.

Approval to knock down the former Perth Green House on Jarrow’s Scotch Estate was given in December 2017. However, a bat survey found the creatures living there.

The approval to demolish still stands, but the latest survey, in summer 2021, found the animals still roosting in the otherwise empty Inverness Road premises.

All bats are legally protected, whether the building they live in is occupied or not. So the building still stands, with local residents keen to see it removed.

The council-owned building has been empty for six years.

Bats cannot be simply removed by force. By law, demolition of a building must wait until bats have left of their own accord.

However, South Tyneside Council who own the two-storey building as well as its nearby plant room, say they “are currently gathering evidence in support of an application for a licence to Natural England to demolish”.

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

The two buildings used to be a South Tyneside Council residential home, which doubled as a facility for older people recovering from illness or injury.

The former Perth Green House has been vandalised inside and out.

In 2016 staff were transferred to the Haven Court centre in the grounds of South Tyneside Hospital. The Perth Green buildings have stood idle ever since.

The council say: “A re-survey in 2021 confirmed that bats are still using the building and therefore it is considered to be a bat roost and protected from obstruction, damage or destruction under the legislation, whether bats are present at the time or not.”

The plant room does not have bats, but the council added: “This building is adjacent to a private property. To be able to demolish this we need to carry out party wall / retaining wall repairs.

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Perth Green House's former plant room is also un-demolished, but for different reasons to the main building.

“These are being designed by engineers prior to an approval process, which needs to be agreed with the neighbouring home owner once designs are complete.”

A Scotch Estate resident told the Gazette: “Six years is it? I’ve got nothing against bats, but it’s an eyesore. I want rid of it.”