Creating new homes for animals as well as people

Our day job is building homes for people, but recently we’ve turned our hand to providing new homes for reptiles and bats!

When we found lizards living at our forthcoming Chasewater Grange development in Norton Canes, Staffordshire, and bats living at our Fair Acres development in Worcestershire, we knew we couldn’t make them homeless. That’s why we set about helping them move to a new home.

Rob Beattie, Technical Director for Taylor Wimpey, says: “We carried out extensive surveys of the sites to identify the presence of wildlife and their habitats.

“As a responsible and considerate housebuilder, we wanted to ensure that our plans for new homes didn’t cause any problems for the current inhabitants of the land surrounding Chasewater Grange and Fair Acres.”

Moving lizards to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

We carry out extensive land surveys before we start building work, and it was during this phase that we discovered a small number of common lizards off Brownhills Road.

After the reptiles were discovered, we began working alongside environmental experts at Cannock Chase Council and Just Ecology to find a suitable habitat to relocate the animals.

Between us, we decided that the lizards would get a brand new home at Nun’s Well – an area of grassland situated in the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, approximately four miles from the Chasewater Grange site. We also provided two purpose-built reptile shelters to ensure the lizards had a safe area on their immediate release.

These common lizards are widespread in Staffordshire, and hibernate in groups between October and March, emerging only for brief times during warmer weather. Nun’s Well is recognised as a good habitat for reptiles as it contains an area of grassland and scattered scrub, as well as sunny banks on which the lizards can bask. We wish the lizards well in their new home!

New homes and new hedges for two species of bats

Over at Fair Acres in Honeybourne, Worcestershire, we need to demolish an old barn that some bats are currently living in to make way for the new development. The bats will get a brand new roost at a purpose built habitat on site, right next to the High Street.

Rob added: “To mitigate the loss of the bats’ existing roost, we have worked closely with environmental consultants and been guided by Natural England to create a new purpose-built roost which will ensure the bats will be able to continue roosting on site.”

Experts from CSa Environmental Planning have helped us design the roost. They also conducted a full ecological survey of the site and found one lesser horseshoe bat, as well as some brown long-eared bats.

We will also be planting a new native hedge/treeline between the roost and an area of public open space, to provide a sheltered flight path for bats to enter and exit the building. The hedge will also provide bats and other wildlife with opportunities for foraging.

An experienced Natural England bat ecologist will oversee the move, which can only take place once Natural England issues us with a European Protected Species licence.

So here at Taylor Wimpey we don’t just get our kicks from bricks – we’re also a wizard with lizards and a class act with bats!

 Brown long-eared bats