Wednesday 21 February 2024
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Plans for British Waterways apartments include wildlife protections

Bat and bird boxes will be installed on the historic British Waterways building in Nottingham as part of approved plans to turn it into flats.

The iconic building in Castle Wharf will be transformed into 95 one and two bed apartments and studios.

Eight of the homes will be provided through the creation of a rooftop extension.

H2O Urban formed a partnership between the building owner, the Canal and River Trust, and specialist partnership developer bloc group, aiming to make full use of the building without damaging it.

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Nottingham City Council approved the plans at a planning committee in September last year and, conditional to the approval, the installation of bat and bird boxes were required to better support local wildlife.

According to documents submitted by the Canal and River Trust, concrete boxes with a red clay finish and a bat symbol will be installed.

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Documents submitted in November say:

“The concrete bat box with red clay finish is necessary as there is no cavity to the walls of the building and therefore the smaller ‘entrance’ bricks cannot be used.

“This will necessitate the removal of bricks in the elevations. However, at the height where they are to be installed the additions will be imperceptible from public areas.

“The number and type of bat and bird boxes have been specified by the appointed ecology consultant and provide the necessary mitigation required in a manner which is sympathetic to the appearance of the building.”

While a previous bat activity report concluded the building does not contain a bat roost, surveys did note a number of soprano pipistrelle bats were spotted foraging along the canal towpath.

Soprano pipistrelle bats are commonly found roosting in or on buildings.

Two bat boxes will be installed on the west face alongside a further two boxes on the south face.

Two swift boxes will also be installed on the south face.

The Grade II listed British Waterways building was originally built in around 1919 and used for the storage and loading of goods and materials onto canal barges.

Most recently the warehouse building was home to Wetherspoon pub, The Company Inn, which has since closed, as well as a gym and comedy club, The Glee Club, which did not renew its lease on the site.

In converting the building to apartments, the developer of the scheme must also avoid using power tools.

A façade repair works plan shows a number of existing canopies will be removed alongside the re-pointing of brickwork and joints at the base of the building.

The plan says power tools must not be used in masonry repair work, only hooked tools or masonry chisels, and prepared brick faces must be brushed down with a bristle brush.

A special and particular mortar mix is also required in repair work, while sands must comply with English Heritage specifications.

Of the installation of the bat and bird boxes, the documents add: “The installation works will involve careful removal of brickwork by hand, clean-out all remaining brick and mortar residue.”

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