Developer destroyed bat resting place

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

A developer destroyed the resting place of protected wild bats in Matlock after he forged ahead with plans for a residential site.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard during a trial on Monday, April 28, how Hargurdial Singh Rai, 55, of Birmingham-based ISAR Enterprises Ltd, went ahead with the redevelopment of former offices on Dale Road despite a survey which identified the site as a resting place for brown, long-eared bats.

Prosecuting solicitor Rod Chapman said: “The two mischiefs are the destruction of the habitat of a species and therefore the adverse effect on the amenity of the community.

“Secondly, the offender gained commercial advantage by his offence because he obviated costs and delays inherent with complying with legal obligations. When a bat roost is discovered in a proposed building development it incurs additional costs.”

Mr Chapman explained the Conservation Trust calculated the cost if Rai had complied with regulations as £5,737. The court heard how ecologist Jeremy Truscott originally concluded the site was a roost after he had been instructed by an architect acting for ISAR.

Mr Chapman said Mr Truscott later noticed development work had started on the site and informed police. A wildlife crime officer and police attended and discovered the bat roost had been destroyed.

Rai, who denied the charge, claimed he had delegated decisions regarding building to Ashok Jhalli, of Ash Design and Build, but prosecuting solicitor Mr Chapman stressed Mr Jhalli and architect Paramjit Kumar Sehdeva, of Storm Developments, maintained Rai was responsible. Mr Chapman said Rai was the brains behind the development and had most to gain.

Magistrates found Rai, of North Drive, Handsworth, Birmingham, and ISAR guilty of destroying the resting place of a protected species between March, 2011, and July, 2012. His case was adjourned to Derby Crown Court for confiscation and sentencing on June 2.