A COLONY of bats discovered in the roof of the old bake house in East Haddon has halted the demolition of the building.
At the time of print the bats living in part of the building - which is due to be knocked down - are a protected species and cannot be removed from the building at present.
Part of the building was demolished in May this year despite concerns from local residents about losing an element of the village’s history residing in the 18th-century bake house.
An application to list the building submitted by Daventry District Council to English Heritage was received too late to prevent it being torn down and in the face of imminent demolition of the remaining part of the house it seems the bat colony is the only thing protecting the building.
Although the villagers and council will not be able to prevent the building from being destroyed the building cannot be touched while the bats are in residence.
In order to remove the protected species a licence must be issued. Natural England has confirmed has not happened.
Last week police were called to the property as neighbours believed a potential crime was being committed.
A neighbour witnessed tiles being removed from the building’s roof and called the police to inform them.
As no licence had been issued the police stopped the work on the roof and future work on the property while the bats were in residence should also be reported to the police.
Unfortunately for disgruntled residents the building cannot be saved under planning powers despite its long history of serving West Haddon and surrounding villages until its closure in 1975.
Residents believe the bakery dates as far back as 1771 and Lady Diana Spencer and the family from Althorp were regular customers.
The property was only sold this year following the death of the bakery’s owner.
Residents hope that despite not being able to save the old bake house they may be able to raise the profile of historic buildings in the area and protect others in future.