Arklow objectors fear risk to habitat of bats

Wed, Sep 3, 2008, 01:00

OBJECTORS TO a planned €180 million commercial development in Arklow, Co Wicklow, have raised concerns about the likely impact of the development on a habitat of bats.

A long list of objections to the Alps project in the centre of the town has been submitted by four parties opposed to the plan.

In the last couple of weeks the town council has given the green light to the proposed development, incorporating shops, offices, apartments and a 93-bed hotel.

The scheme is now likely to go back to An Bord Pleanála for a final decision.

All four objectors live close to the proposed Alps development, off Main Street. In one submission they expressed concern about the impact it would have on bats. It is thought that the ruins of Ormonde Castle are now a habitat for bats.

An environmental impact statement showed no signs of bats or badgers but said the presence of such animals could not be ruled out. Appropriate mitigation measures for bats and badgers have been recommended as a precautionary measure to protect the possibility of these species using the site, it said.

An engineer’s report described the castle as crucial to the development. “There should be no interference with any portion of the castle and, in fact where feasible, the appearance shall be improved and exposed for visitors to the site.”

Dublin developer Graham Quinn, who is behind the Alps development, said the project would invigorate and energise Arklow’s town centre, which has been in decline in recent years.