Rachel Penn was recently called as expert witness at the planning inquiry into proposed development at Hamsterley Hall, County Durham.
Hamsterley Hall is a Grade II* 18th century country house which was the historic home of Viscount Gort and before that the Surtees family. It requires extensive restoration and renovation to protect its historic features and render it fit for habitation. To fund these works the current owners are proposing to construct 60 houses adjacent to Hamsterley Mill, in association with David Wilson Homes. Durham County Council and local residents are objecting to the proposals on sustainability grounds.
Penn Associates Ecology Ltd undertook ecological surveys of the proposed development site and Hamsterley Hall parkland and assessed the impact of the proposed development works on them. Hamsterley Hall was found to be an important roost site for bats with five different species recorded. The Parkland also contains areas of ancent woodland, a wildlife corridor and designated site of local wildlife value.