Bat fears before derelict school pavilion is demolished in Cheam

©Hugh Clark/www.bats.org.uk

©Hugh Clark/www.bats.org.uk

First published in News
Last updated
Sutton Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Anti-sports dome campaigners say they have been barred from looking for bats in a derelict school pavilion due to be demolished this week.

Nonsuch High School for Girls in Ewell Road, Cheam, wants to replace the dilapidated pavilion as part of its plans for new sports facilities including a controversial air-supported dome.

Resident Neill Denny, who belongs to the group, said: "The school are planning to demolish a derelict pavilion on the site to make way for the development but have refused permission from local residents to conduct a bat survey to assess if the pavilion is a bat roost."

An ecological consultancy's initial bat assessment, on September 5, did not find any evidence of bats inside the building but said bats could be living in external gaps.

Its report said: "Although the building is probably very cold in winter due to the missing roof half, the building could possibly be used as a summer roost for bats living under the loose and broken tiles along the northern elevation in particular."

Sutton Guardian:

The dilapidated pavilion at Nonsuch High School for Girls

As a result of its findings, a more detailed survey was carried out on September 23. At dusk that day common pipistrelle bats were seen flying along the tree lines.

But the report said the suspected roost was "unconfirmed" and recommended the continuation of work without interruption. It said: "If any bats are discovered during the renovation, work needs to halt and a licensed ecologist notified."

The optimum time for the second survey is between May and August, but it can also be carried out in September.

Headteacher Peter Gale said they had paid for several bat, newt and tree surveys as requested by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council (EEBC).

Mr Gale said: "We have met all the statutory requirements placed upon us by EEBC."

A council spokesman confirmed that the demolition of the pavilion building does not need planning permission.

Sutton Guardian:

Plans for the new pavilion at Nonsuch High School for Girls

 

Comments (9)

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2:29pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Neill Denny says...

If the school have nothing to hide, why not let us conduct a proper bat survey now? Instead, they are rushing to demolish the pavilion - the bulldozers going in tomorrow (August 13). It's almost as if they are anxious to level it before bats can be found. The old pavilion has been slipping into dereliction for over a decade, one wonders why they are suddenly so desperate to knock it down.

And all of this before planning permission for the horrific Dome has been discussed, let alone granted. (Part of the scheme is to build a new pavilion on the site of the old one). Both local councillor Mary Burstow and Epsom and Ewell Council are aware of the school's refusal to allow us to conduct a survey, a fact that no doubt will be raised at the planning meeting.
If the school have nothing to hide, why not let us conduct a proper bat survey now? Instead, they are rushing to demolish the pavilion - the bulldozers going in tomorrow (August 13). It's almost as if they are anxious to level it before bats can be found. The old pavilion has been slipping into dereliction for over a decade, one wonders why they are suddenly so desperate to knock it down. And all of this before planning permission for the horrific Dome has been discussed, let alone granted. (Part of the scheme is to build a new pavilion on the site of the old one). Both local councillor Mary Burstow and Epsom and Ewell Council are aware of the school's refusal to allow us to conduct a survey, a fact that no doubt will be raised at the planning meeting. Neill Denny
  • Score: 3

4:54pm Tue 12 Aug 14

labyrinth says...

Neill Denny wrote:
If the school have nothing to hide, why not let us conduct a proper bat survey now? Instead, they are rushing to demolish the pavilion - the bulldozers going in tomorrow (August 13). It's almost as if they are anxious to level it before bats can be found. The old pavilion has been slipping into dereliction for over a decade, one wonders why they are suddenly so desperate to knock it down.

And all of this before planning permission for the horrific Dome has been discussed, let alone granted. (Part of the scheme is to build a new pavilion on the site of the old one). Both local councillor Mary Burstow and Epsom and Ewell Council are aware of the school's refusal to allow us to conduct a survey, a fact that no doubt will be raised at the planning meeting.
Exactly. They are so very keen to demolish this 'dilapidated' building, but they have been quite happy to have it there all this time.

Mr. Gale's comment 'We have met all the statutory requirements...' just sums up the Nonsuch attitude perfectly. We will do the absolute legal minimum, and you can all just deal with it.
[quote][p][bold]Neill Denny[/bold] wrote: If the school have nothing to hide, why not let us conduct a proper bat survey now? Instead, they are rushing to demolish the pavilion - the bulldozers going in tomorrow (August 13). It's almost as if they are anxious to level it before bats can be found. The old pavilion has been slipping into dereliction for over a decade, one wonders why they are suddenly so desperate to knock it down. And all of this before planning permission for the horrific Dome has been discussed, let alone granted. (Part of the scheme is to build a new pavilion on the site of the old one). Both local councillor Mary Burstow and Epsom and Ewell Council are aware of the school's refusal to allow us to conduct a survey, a fact that no doubt will be raised at the planning meeting.[/p][/quote]Exactly. They are so very keen to demolish this 'dilapidated' building, but they have been quite happy to have it there all this time. Mr. Gale's comment 'We have met all the statutory requirements...' just sums up the Nonsuch attitude perfectly. We will do the absolute legal minimum, and you can all just deal with it. labyrinth
  • Score: -1

5:42pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Reggie of cheam says...

It seems fairly obvious that the school is trying do this as quickly as possible they clearly don't want their neighbours finding Bats as this would create problems. Anyway they have a pavilion why do they need a new one they should not of allowed this one to fall into disrepair.
It seems fairly obvious that the school is trying do this as quickly as possible they clearly don't want their neighbours finding Bats as this would create problems. Anyway they have a pavilion why do they need a new one they should not of allowed this one to fall into disrepair. Reggie of cheam
  • Score: 0

10:11am Wed 13 Aug 14

Cheamgal says...

The ecological value of the fields cannot be disputed. However, if the school had paid for extensive surveys, which are above and beyond statutory requirements, would they not have been accused of wasting public money? The money to pay for this presumably would from the money from the project or the school's overall budget, either way diverting money from achieving the maximum benefit for the girls attending the school.

It is sad that with obesity rising that increasing sports facilities, and thereby hopefully participation, is not welcomed. At a time when many schools have sold or are selling playing fields, surely retention and improvement of facilities should be supported.

Perhaps the school sought to demolish the pavilion now because disruption to the school will, be minimum? I think we have to be honest and admit is is an eyesore.
The ecological value of the fields cannot be disputed. However, if the school had paid for extensive surveys, which are above and beyond statutory requirements, would they not have been accused of wasting public money? The money to pay for this presumably would from the money from the project or the school's overall budget, either way diverting money from achieving the maximum benefit for the girls attending the school. It is sad that with obesity rising that increasing sports facilities, and thereby hopefully participation, is not welcomed. At a time when many schools have sold or are selling playing fields, surely retention and improvement of facilities should be supported. Perhaps the school sought to demolish the pavilion now because disruption to the school will, be minimum? I think we have to be honest and admit is is an eyesore. Cheamgal
  • Score: 5

12:47pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Reggie of cheam says...

The local residents are not against getting our children fit but how many sports centres can they possibly use in one day. They already have excellent sports facilities at the school. We all know this is just a cash cow for the school.
The local residents are not against getting our children fit but how many sports centres can they possibly use in one day. They already have excellent sports facilities at the school. We all know this is just a cash cow for the school. Reggie of cheam
  • Score: 0

1:19pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Neill Denny says...

Actually, Cheamgal, we weren't asking for the school to pay for the survey. We would pay for it ourselves; we have already paid for a major bat survey that was undertaken earlier in the year in Nonsuch Park and Warren Farm, in fact all around the school. Needless to say, the school refused permission for us to survey on their grounds. I wonder why.

You will no doubt be pleased to know that the pavilion is being demolished as I write this.

Reggie is correct in saying we want our children to get fit but the school already have an in-house David Lloyd Centre they can use (gym, indoor pool, all-weather pitch, covered tennis courts), plus the two large playing fields they want to build on, plus outdoor tennis courts. All this for a school that has always previously put academic prowess ahead of sporting excellence. This sports development is designed to be used by people all across south London and Surrey, creating traffic and parking problms in Cheam village, whilst the vast Dome itself will utterly ruin the peaceful rural tranquility of Warren Farm. The lesson the school is inadvertently teaching its pupils is that it is OK to trample on your neighbours to get what you want. Classy.
Actually, Cheamgal, we weren't asking for the school to pay for the survey. We would pay for it ourselves; we have already paid for a major bat survey that was undertaken earlier in the year in Nonsuch Park and Warren Farm, in fact all around the school. Needless to say, the school refused permission for us to survey on their grounds. I wonder why. You will no doubt be pleased to know that the pavilion is being demolished as I write this. Reggie is correct in saying we want our children to get fit but the school already have an in-house David Lloyd Centre they can use (gym, indoor pool, all-weather pitch, covered tennis courts), plus the two large playing fields they want to build on, plus outdoor tennis courts. All this for a school that has always previously put academic prowess ahead of sporting excellence. This sports development is designed to be used by people all across south London and Surrey, creating traffic and parking problms in Cheam village, whilst the vast Dome itself will utterly ruin the peaceful rural tranquility of Warren Farm. The lesson the school is inadvertently teaching its pupils is that it is OK to trample on your neighbours to get what you want. Classy. Neill Denny
  • Score: -1

11:37pm Wed 13 Aug 14

EpsomBornAndBred says...

Even if there are bats living in the old building, would they not simply find somewhere else to live when it is demolished?
Even if there are bats living in the old building, would they not simply find somewhere else to live when it is demolished? EpsomBornAndBred
  • Score: 3

1:18pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Reggie of cheam says...

Clearly Nonsuch girls have no regard for our planning laws because as this is being typed 18th August 2014 they are as we speak digging up the playing fields!!! they obviously feel that this is a forgone conclusion.
Clearly Nonsuch girls have no regard for our planning laws because as this is being typed 18th August 2014 they are as we speak digging up the playing fields!!! they obviously feel that this is a forgone conclusion. Reggie of cheam
  • Score: 1

8:29am Fri 29 Aug 14

RP_CPN says...

Reggie of cheam wrote:
Clearly Nonsuch girls have no regard for our planning laws because as this is being typed 18th August 2014 they are as we speak digging up the playing fields!!! they obviously feel that this is a forgone conclusion.
I suggest you get your facts right before you make accusations you cannot substantiate. Hint: the work in the field has nothing to do with the pavilion and dome projects. Keep fishing.
[quote][p][bold]Reggie of cheam[/bold] wrote: Clearly Nonsuch girls have no regard for our planning laws because as this is being typed 18th August 2014 they are as we speak digging up the playing fields!!! they obviously feel that this is a forgone conclusion.[/p][/quote]I suggest you get your facts right before you make accusations you cannot substantiate. Hint: the work in the field has nothing to do with the pavilion and dome projects. Keep fishing. RP_CPN
  • Score: 4

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