At last we have everything in place and the ground work contractors arrived on site 29 February to begin the footings. We have a 45 page Mitigation Statement which details what we have to do to comply with the terms of the license. One of the conditions of the license, is that we have to employ an Ecologist licensed for Bats, to attend on the day of the demolition to ensure that the roof tiles are removed carefully so that if the hibernating bat is found it is dealt with in the proper manner and installed into the bat boxes we have provided. Further to that, we must not have any stair access to the loft in the garage, and no day light or lighting in the area. When the garage is completed, we have to employ an Ecologist again for this, to report to Natural England that this has been completed. 12 months after that, we have to employ the ecologist again to report as whether the loft space has been used by bats. The total cost for all of this lunacy over one bat will be in the region of £3300.00.
It was necessary to clear an area at the front for delivery access which required a layer of hard core. The original plan was to demolish the existing dwelling first, which would have given us the hard core we needed. As we cant do that we now have to purchase hard core to do the job.
We had some concerns that the ground would be too wet to dig the footings, but fortunately having started its not too bad. Although there is some water it will just require the digging of a sump and a pump to remove the excess water. When I purchased the site I was told that there was no mains sewage and there was a septic tank. On the first day of exploration we find that we are in fact on mains sewage, which is a great find and will avoid considerable cost for a replacement septic tank which was in the budget.
The first job has been to scrape away the soil to get the levels right and we now have a huge mound of very useful top soil. The ground was used for farming in years gone by and looks very good stuff and very unlike the usual brown clay usually found. Next we mark out the building. Having done that everything looks as planned and the building sits very well on the site.