Andy Murray agrees to share his luxury mansion with bats
The tennis ace is to allow the protected species to roost in the loft space of the new home he is having constructed.
Specially designed tiles will be erected on the roof to allow the creatures access to the property in Leatherhead, Surrey.
Murray, 30, had plans approved to demolish a property he bought for nearly £3 million and construct a new home in its place.
However surveys of the house earmarked for demolition revealed it was home to colonies of pipistrelle and brown long-eared bats.
Murray’s representatives were forced to come up with measures to protect the bats from harm during the building project.
They will be moved to a bat box on a tree in the grounds of the property while the construction work is ongoing and given access to the new house when it is completed.
An ecological report carried out on behalf of Murray stated: “External features of the house and garage were found to be potentially suitable for roosting bats and emergence and re-entry surveys confirmed that both buildings are used by low numbers of common species as day and night roosts.
“The demolition of the house will result in the permanent loss of day roosts of small numbers of common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle and brown long-eared bats and the permanent loss of night roosts of a small number of soprano pipistrelle bats.
“Mitigation for the loss of the roosts in the existing property can be provided in the loft space of the new house on site.
“The new loft space will be made accessible to bats through the installation of access tiles or slates on the south east and south west faces of the roof.
“The roof of the property will be lined with bituminous roofing felt. Breathable membrane will not be used as bats can become entangled in the fibres and perish.”
Bats are a protected species under UK law and it is illegal to kill, possess or handle them without a licence or to cause them harm or disturb their habitat in any way.
The house is in Leatherhead, Surrey, just a few miles from Murray’s current £5 million home in Oxshott which he shares with wife Kim and their two young daughters.
The double Wimbledon champion’s house plans were given the go-ahead after his architects submitted revised plans for a swimming pool and gym building which means they will be smaller than originally planned.
The pool and gym could be used to help Murray’s rehabilitation from injury. He is currently recovering from hip surgery in Australia and is not expected to be back on the tennis court until the summer’s grass court season.
He and wife Kim bought the house, which has a tennis court in its 28 acres of grounds, in November, 2016. They initially built an extension before deciding to demolish it and build their own bespoke home in its place.
Plans show the new house will be a two-storey home with five en-suite bathrooms on the first floor and a library and a study on the ground floor. It will also have a large dining room, a larder and a snug room.
Murray’s architects said the existing house was “of no particular historic or architectural merit” and would be replaced by an “attractively designed property”.