EVIDENCE of bats living within one of the buildings planned as part of Chard’s regeneration scheme will not set it back, the council has promised.

South Somerset District Council confirmed that proof of bats living within one of the Mill Lane buildings has been found, but assured the public that this news will not have an impact on their ability to deliver the Chard Refresh project.

An SSDC spokesman said: “The council have undertaken a number of ecology surveys and can confirm that there is evidence of some very isolated bat activity and although the ecology report has not been completed yet; South Somerset District Council will be taking all reasonable mitigation steps to ensure that, the welfare of the bats is not compromised by the development activity.

“Rest assured, we have discovered the potential ecology constraints very early into the scheme planning process, so there is no reason that this cannot be factored into the scheme without compromising the delivery timeline.”

The spokesman also said the Chard Regeneration Scheme is not yet delayed at this stage.

They added: “The consultation period closed at the end of September 2018, and just a few weeks later, the council have commenced the process of working up the details of the scheme, having listened to the community views in order to bring the Chard Regeneration Scheme forward.

“The earliest delivery date for the first phase of the scheme, which will include the leisure elements, will be late 2020.

“The 2020 date is not a promise but an aim which is dependent on a range of factors, some in the Council’s control and many that are not.”