Decision details

Darlington Crown Street Library - Bat Activity Surveys

Decision Maker: Assistant Director Community Services

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Cabinet have requested that Officers look at the retention of Darlington’s Central Library at Crown Street, following this decision proposals have been developed to improve the current building fabric and visitor experience.

Any works carried out at Crown Street Library will need to address the long term issues with regard to the roof, structural, mechanical & electrical as well as sympathetic refurbishment of the building alongside improved access.

An element of the current development work is a Bat Activity Survey to develop a robust ecological assessment and understanding of bat activity within the building.

The initial survey will involve the installation of Static bat equipment to be deployed within the roof void for a period of 5 days, to include the installation of cameras, following the 5 day survey period ECOSERV will return to site and collect the equipment, data can then be evaluated off site and a written report submitted. 2 No further surveys will then be required at approximately 3 week intervals.

It was considered that this survey work may have not been possible due to the COVID 19 restrictions. However, guidance released by Defra and the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) states that ‘Ecologists and environmental professionals should therefore be able to continue with outdoor work, including ecological surveying and supervision, where they can continue to follow Public Health England guidelines’.

The Ecologists have developed preliminary risk assessments and method statements that would enable the surveys to progress in accordance with Public Health England’s guidance. These would be developed further for approval if surveys are agreed to progress.

The next stage would be to undertake 3 No Surveys approximately 3 weeks apart between May and September.

Financial/staffing/health & safety (including virus transmission risks)/service delivery impacts/other risks and impacts considered:
Programme - It is anticipated that the work will take up to 5 days, this will include the installation and retrieval of the equipment along with site visits by ECOSERV to carry out visual surveys.
Communications - The building is in the ownership and is also maintained by Darlington Borough Council, all parties have been made aware of the survey times and dates.
Financial - The development work has been commissioned by Darlington Borough Council.
COVID19 - The works can be progressed under the current guidelines with the necessary systems in place. Access to the attic space will be limited to ECOSERV personnel for the duration of the survey period.

Equality Impacts:
Not applicable.


That the Bat Activity Surveys are progressed as soon as practicably possible.

Reason: To ensure project development continues on programme and to ascertain the features and characteristics of the roost, Bat Activity (size, perching points, aspect, orientation, temperature, humidity and lighting) and the surrounding area (proximity of vegetation to exits points, availability of foraging areas locally). This information can then be used to design a suitable mitigation strategy.

Alternative options considered:

Delay programme until such time as survey work authorised.

Programme delay - Bat Activity Surveys can only be undertaken during May to August, but may be continued into September in suitable weather conditions. It is extremely important that they are carried out during the specified time period, as the start of works may be delayed for a further year.

Publication date: 25/11/2020

Date of decision: 11/05/2020