Tennis star Andy Murray’s plans to expand his luxury five-star hotel could be halted by a large colony of bats.
Last month we revealed that the Wimbledon champion had submitted plans to build extra bedrooms and a new tearoom to cope with the rise in demand at Cromlix House, as well a gym designed by Murray himself.
Now however these plans have been met with a setback as surveys of the buildings earmarked for the new 27 bedrooms have revealed that more than 130 bats are taking up residence in the area.
Bats are a protected species under UK law and it is illegal to kill, possess or handle them without a licence or to cause them harm or disturb their habitat in any way.
An ecological report submitted to Stirling Council said: “Soprano pipistrelle bats were recorded roosting in the buildings on site during the nocturnal surveys. Common pipistrelle, Daubenton’s and Natterer’s bats were also recorded foraging on site, but no roost sites for these species were confirmed.
“Bat roosts were identified within all of the buildings on site, with the exception of a small, dilapidated portable cabin to the north.
“Many of the roosts sites supported one or two roosting bats; however, it is evident that the buildings within the square support a maternity colony of bats, with over 130 bats observed emerging from the buildings during the final nocturnal survey.”
The report states that the hotel will need to obtain a licence from Scottish Natural Heritage and implement mitigation measures to protect the bats before work can be carried out.
Work may also be banned in some areas during summer months as maternity roosts were found where female bats have their babies during that period.