PLANS to turn two empty houses in Rhoscrowther in to a home for bats have been given the go-ahead by Pembrokeshire County Council.

The application, by Valero Energy Ltd, sought a change of use for the two semi-detached houses at 3 and 4 Pleasant View, to allow the creation of a bat roost for lesser horseshoe bats.

The need for a new bat roost is to move the protected species from its current home at the substation of Valero Pembroke Refinery.

Number 3 has been empty for at least 12 months, and number 4 for longer.

No objections have been raised by Angle Community Council.

The lesser horseshoe bats were identified roosting in an electricity substation during a health and safety audit, and were recognised as a health and safety risk to both personnel and the bats themselves.

A report for planners states: “There is an urgent need on safety grounds to remove an existing bat roost from the sub-station within the Valero Pembroke Refinery and to provide alternative bat roost mitigation.

“The proposed development is for the provision of an alternative bat roost within No. 3 Pleasant View through the conversion of an existing empty property. To ensure that the bat roost will not be disturbed by activity within the adjoining property, No. 4 Pleasant View will also be designated as a bat roost. The development therefore accords with planning policy that seeks to protect and enhance the status of this protected species.

“Ongoing appropriate management of the bat roosts, the building fabric and land within the curtilage of the properties will take place to ensure that the bat roosts will not have a significant impact on the setting of any nearby heritage asset.”

The application was conditionally approved on March 15.