A BAT expert has been hired to remove the animals by hand from the site of a former boarding school being converted into a housing estate.

Julian Thornber of Abingdon-based AA Environmental has been recruited to deal with the pipistrelle, brown long-eared and Daubenton's bats nesting at the old Carmel College site near Wallingford.

OpecPrime Development has hired Mr Thornber as it redevelops the former Jewish boarding school site to provide 166 homes.

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The company is also refurbishing of Grade II listed buildings to create a new restaurant, community cafe and swimming pool.

As part of the plan the developer is planning to damage one day roost used by the bats, destroy a night roost and modify a 'maternity roost' used by soprano pipistrelles.

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The details have all been published in a bat licence application which the developer has this month submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council.

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Under the heading 'Please confirm the purpose of the application', the developers have cited 'imperative reasons of overriding public interest including those of a social or economic nature and beneficial consequences of primary importance for the environment'.