Roosting bats may stop Drake's Island hotel plan
ROOSTING bats could scupper plans by former Argyle boss Dan McCauley to turn Drake's Island into an upmarket hotel.
The £10million resort project for the island in the Sound will be considered by Plymouth City Council planning committee this week.
But planning officials are advising councillors to reject it. They say the developers Dan McCauley and his son Aidan have failed to show that bats living on the island will be protected.
They are also unhappy about the impact on the historic island, which has a number of Grade II listed buildings and a Scheduled Monument.
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And planners say the developers have not shown that the Plymouth Sound and Estuaries Special Area of Conservation will be protected.
They are also concerned about the potential for noise from a proposed helicopter landing pad.
Sean Swales, group finance director for Mr McCauley's company Rotolok (Holdings) Ltd, told The Herald earlier this year that work on the island could start next Spring if planning permission is granted.
The Herald was unable to contact anyone from the company.
Plans for the island include a 44-bedroom boutique hotel, a bar, restaurant, and a swimming pool and spa.
The new complex will also be served by a new jetty and ferry service, and the public will be offered limited access.
Mr McCauley has talked of redeveloping the island ever since buying it in 1995.
Under the plans put together by city architects Lacey Hickie Caley, the Grade II listed Barrack Block would be converted into 25 hotel bedrooms and suites, with another 19 suites in the Casemated Battery at the east end of the island.
Two "Feature Rooms" would be restored to reflect their original historic form and made accessible to the public.
Island House would be converted into a bar and restaurant, with a spa, gym and swimming pool in the Ablution Block.
The three buildings would be linked with a glazed contemporary structure.
Space is also allocated for a conference suite, services rooms, staff support and ancillary facilities.
The existing ammunition store would be demolished and the landing jetty on the north side of the island would be repaired and refurbished.
A modern "arrival building" with a scenic lift would take guests from the jetty to the main hotel at the top of the cliff.
The council is responsible for the listed buildings.
English Heritage is responsible for the Scheduled Monument areas, which include the main entrance, coastal walls and the western gun battery, the remains of a 16th century artillery tower and casemated artillery batteries.
English Heritage has said it is prepared to consider compromises over the temporary removal of six of the casemate blast shields on the island.
Twelve individual representations have been received.
One supports the proposal because it will provide new jobs.
Eight object on grounds that include the impact on protected wildlife, especially little egrets and bats; the effect on seagrass beds; and the allegation that public access will be limited and not affordable.
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