Rupert Grint will install BAT boxes in grounds of his mansionJuly 2, 2021
Harry Potter star Rupert Grint is forced to install BAT boxes in grounds of his £5.4m mansion after discovery of roost inside barn he plans to convert into three eco-friendly homes
- Rupert Grint, 32, has submitted plans to convert the barn in the ground of his property into three homes
- Ecological study found project would ‘disturb and destroy’ a bat roost in the barn and actor has revised plans
- Will install alternative bat boxes for creatures and project will take place under guidance of wildlife experts
Harry Potter star Rupert Grint will have to install bat boxes inside the storage barn which he plans to convert into three eco-friendly family homes following the discovery of a roost.
The actor, 32, who played Ron Weasley in the iconic film franchise, had originally submitted an application to turn the storage barn in the grounds of his £5.4million 18th century mansion near Kimpton, Hertfordshire, into six homes last year.
But he withdrew the application and submitted a new one for three larger homes after planning chiefs blasted the original proposal for having too many properties.
Following the revised plans, an ecological study commissioned by Grint found that his project would ‘disturb and destroy a confirmed bat roost’ in his old storage barn.
He will now have to install alternative bat boxes for the creatures on his 22-acre land and apply for a European Protected Species Mitigation Licence before any building work starts.
Rupert Grint, who wants to convert his barn into three eco-friendly homes, has conjured up a series of conservation measures to protect the bats in his storage barn, near Kimpton, Hertfordshire
After an ecological study commissioned by Grint found that his project would ‘disturb and destroy a confirmed bat roost’ in his barn he proposed a series of conservation measures. Pictured: The inside of Grint’s barn seen in planning documents
The actor, who is currently starring in the Apple TV drama Servant, is also proposing that his construction project only takes place under the guidance of wildlife experts
Grint is also proposing that his construction project only takes place under the guidance of wildlife experts at times when bats are least vulnerable to harm and disturbance.
The actor had originally submitted an application to turn the barn into six homes but withdrew the application and submitted the new one for three larger homes.
Matt Dodds, of the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, claimed soon after the plans were submitted in March that not enough detail had been given about protecting bats.
He called for ‘a full ecological survey’ to assess what actions were needed to protect bats if the development was going to be approved by North Hertfordshire District Council.
Consultant ecologist Adam Lewins responded to the concerns on behalf of Grint by detailing the protection measures that the actor planned to take.
Mr Lewins, a director of Wiltshire-based Kingfisher Ecology, stated that the star would apply for a European Protected Species Mitigation Licence to ensure bats were protected.
He said that any such licence would require ‘a method statement’ and ‘work schedule’ to ‘ensure the proposed works on the property will not be detrimental to the range of bat species’.
Mr Lewins added in a planning document that the actor would be carrying out a more detailed survey to find out more about the numbers and type of bats in the barn and their foraging habits.
Grint hopes to convert the barn (in red), which is unused and located away from the main house and cottages on the estate (in blue), into three eco-friendly homes
Planning documents show that all mature trees and hedges around the barn will be retained where possible and landscape enhancements for foraging bats will be incorporated into the landscape design strategy. Pictured: The actor’s driveway
The statement accompanying his planning application to convert his barn, states that the three proposed house will be ‘of high-quality design and in keeping with the rural surroundings’
The converted properties will maintain the character and appearance of the Kimpton Bottom Conservation Area
Each of the new houses will have a ‘spacious’ open-plan living and dining area with en-suite bathrooms, private gardens and car parking spaces
He said the survey would identify a ‘detailed bat roost compensation’ scheme which would have to be approved by Natural England.
The scheme will involve the installation of ‘alternative roosting opportunities’ in bat boxes in suitable locations within the curtilage of the site before any construction work starts.
Mr Lewins added in a letter to the council: ‘The works will be undertaken when bats are least likely to be present and at times of year when they are least vulnerable to harm and disturbance.
‘All site workers will be given a toolbox talk prior to the destructive works, to inform them of the presence of bat roosts, the protection afforded to bats and a suitable working approach.
‘Prior to any works commencing, a roost check should be conducted by a licensed bat worker to catch any bats present and move them into one of the newly installed bat boxes.’
Mr Lewins said that a ‘Class Level 2 licenced bat worker’ would have to be present during work to remove roof tiles, lead flashing, bitumen roofing felt, wood battens, wall cavities or any other features where bats were likely to be present.
The actor will be carrying out a more detailed survey to find out more about the numbers and type of bats in the barn and their foraging habits. Pictured: The current layout for Rupert Grint’s barn as found in the planning documents
Rainwater falling on the houses will be stored in an underground tank and there will also be a ‘flat green roof’ made up of plants which will encourage wildlife nesting
He added that any bats discovered in the work should be ‘allowed to naturally disperse or be captured by hand and placed into one of the bat boxes’.
Mr Lewins said that no ‘breathable roofing membranes’ would be used on the new houses because of the risk that they could entangle and kill bats.
How are bats protected in the UK?
Bats and their breeding sites are fully protected by UK law.
Those who deliberately capture, injure or kill bats, damage or destroy a breeding or resting place and obstruct access to their resting or sheltering places are in breach of the law.
Possessing or transporting live or dead bats and intentionally or recklessly disturbing a bat while it’s in a structure or place of shelter is also illegal.
There are a number of activities that can affect bats, including renovating, converting or demolishing a building, cutting down or removing branches from a mature tree, repairing or replacing a roof, repointing brickwork, insulating or converting a loft and installing lighting in a roost.
If a bat roost is found in property, owners will need to arrange for one of Natural England’s volunteer bat roost visitors to inspect the building and carry out a survey.
Owners who cannot avoid harming bats or their habitats while carrying out construction work will need to apply for a European Protected Species Mitigation Licence before any building work starts from Natural England.
He went on to say that all mature trees and hedges around the barn would be retained where possible, saying: ‘Landscape enhancements for foraging bats will be incorporated into the landscape design strategy for the project.’
The effectiveness of the bat protection measures would also be constantly monitored as the building work progressed, he added.
Grint was just 11 when he was cast as Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise based on JK Rowling’s popular books.
The actor earned a reported £40million from the eight films, and has used much of his wealth to create a sprawling multi-million pound property business.
Grint who is currently starring in the Apple TV drama Servant, grew up in nearby Watton-at-Stone, and bought his home at Kimpton for £5.4million in 2009.
The former vicarage has six bedrooms, two swimming pools and a private cinema. Grint tried to sell it for £6million last year, but reportedly could not find a buyer.
The design and access statement accompanying his planning application to convert his barn, states that the three proposed house will be ‘of high-quality design and in keeping with the rural surroundings’.
It adds: ‘The proposal seeks to sympathetically convert a domestic barn into new residential properties maintaining its existing character and appearance and that of the character and appearance of the Kimpton Bottom Conservation Area.’
Each of the new houses will have a ‘spacious’ open-plan living and dining area with en-suite bathrooms, private gardens and car parking spaces. The plans also include a new footpath link to the village of Kimpton.
Rainwater falling on the houses will be stored in an underground tank, and available for used in toilets, to water gardens and to wash any cars and bikes.
There will also be a ‘flat green roof’ made up of plants which will encourage wildlife nesting.
Kimpton parish council has stated that it prefers the earlier application which provided for six houses on the barn site instead of three, as it would better help tackle the need for new homes in the village.
Grint’s overall property empire is said to be worth £24million. His company Clay 10 Ltd had net assets of £21,152,315 in its latest accounts posted at Companies House.
The actor welcomed a baby daughter named Wednesday with his long-term girlfriend Georgia Groome, 29, in May last year.
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