Gwynedd council planning officers have approved the demolition of Ysbyty Minffordd in Bangor, after a specialist report found no evidence of bats nesting in the derelict buildings.
Previous plans to demolish the former hospital buildings were put on hold earlier this year after concerns that bats could be nesting or hibernating in the buildings.
The new bat report, carried out in May 2019, did not find any evidence of hibernating bats in the buildings but recommended that demolition should take place outside the hibernation period for bats, which is November to March.
Bat boxes will be installed on adjacent trees prior to the demolition of the buildings. This should include all-season bat boxes or separate hibernation and summer -roost types.
All buildings will be inspected by a bat licensed ecologist prior to demolition. Where bats, or evidence of bats, are found then works would need to stop and a derogation licence from NRW applied for. If no bats are found, any remaining potential roost features, including cracks and crevices, will then be carefully demolished under ecological supervision.
Any bats which become exposed and are vulnerable would be removed by the licensed bat worker (licensed to handle bats in emergency situations) with gloved hands or a hand net. The bat would be placed in a draw-string cloth bag and removed to the bat boxes installed prior to demolition of the buildings.
The buildings on the site have been the subject of unauthorised trespass which has included damage to the buildings, theft of materials from the site and fly tipping. The buildings and the activities associated with the trespass remain serious concern to the police and the local community.
A report form the North Wales Arson Reduction Team found that the site is a frequent meeting place for youths and police were concerned the buildings were being used for drug taking and by prostitutes.
The concerns included potential harm to the trespassers as the buildings structural stability cannot be guaranteed, the risk of exposure to asbestos containing materials and arson related hazards. Demolition of the buildings and site clearance was the only solution of the problems outlined above.
The hospital was built in 1895 in the aftermath of the 1882 typhoid epidemic that accounted for 42 deaths around the Bangor area. The hospital included a number of isolation wards.
In recent years, Minffordd became a community hospital, and also housed the Gwynedd Alzheimers Society. After a lengthy public consultation the hospital closed in 2006.
In 2011 a planning application was approved to develop the site into a 36-bed care facility, but the planning permission expired without any development at the site.