Goals on hold in Rosehill for fear of disrupting bats' habitat
Bats have delayed plans for a multi-million pound football centre.
Plans to turn a dilapidated all-weather football pitch into the state-of-the-art football centre in Rosehill have been put on hold due to the proximity of planned floodlights to the animals’ nesting site.
Goals Soccer Centres, a multi-million pound company which boasts 43 centres around the UK and one in Los Angeles, won the contract to redevelop the site from Sutton Council last year.
But it has had to put plans on hold while it consults with nature experts about protecting the bats that have been discovered in the area.
Goals Soccer Centre in North Cheam is open from 9am to 11pm all year round with the hum of floodlights penetrating the night sky as soon as dusk settles.
Tony Drakeford, a nature columnist for the Sutton Guardian and Surrey Comet, said the floodlights would badly affect the resident bat population.
He said: “The floodlights would confuse the bats and their lifestyle would be disrupted as insects, which the bats feed on, would be affected.
“Bats are highly protected and could not be relocated.”
Councillor Jill Whitehead, chairwoman of the environment and neighbourhoods committee at Sutton Council, said: “An assessment by Goals’ ecologist has raised concerns that there could well be bats roosting and flying along the railway line behind the pitch and that they could be affected by light from the floodlighting they had planned.
“We are working with them to undertake a full survey of the bats in the area.
“We understand they are looking at measures to reduce the amount of light that reaches the trees and different types of lighting that have less of an impact on some species of bat.”
A spokesman for Goals, said: “Goals takes nature conservation very seriously and it would not do anything to harm any local species.”