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Swift action to keep bird from endangered list in Bishops Castle
BISHOPS Castle Town Hall renovation scheme is installing some unusual features in a bid to provide homes for one of Britain’s most iconic birds which is heading for the endangered list.
The swift is on the amber list for conservation concern after numbers fell by 31 per cent between 1995 and 2009, and experts say a lack of nesting space is one of the main reasons for the decline.
But from next year Bishops Castle Town Hall could provide a welcome home for the struggling bird with speciallydesigned nesting boxes being built in as part of the renovation work.
The boxes are being integrated into new roof dormers and will even include audio 'tweeters'
which issue swift calls to encourage them to nest.
“Before we started work on the town hall we hosted a fund-raising talk by the Ludlow Swift Group and heard how swifts are in decline,”
said Sam Hine, Bishops Castle Town Hall project manager.
“There are swifts in Bishops Castle each summer but numbers are falling. We were then approached by local swift enthusiasts who asked if we could put some nesting boxes on the town hall as part of the renovation work.
“Our architect Philip Belchere and the contractors J Harper and Sons have managed to actually design the boxes in to the building itself making them less visually obtrusive on the grade II listed building.”
Conservation groups, including the RSPB, have called for developers to be more responsible when designing new buildings and development projects because swifts are running out of places to nest.
The Bishops Castle Town Hall renovation project aims to transform the 250-year-old building into a thriving community resource which will be used to host markets, events, weddings and visitor information services.
The project is funded by a £676,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant and a number of other awards. Contractors J Harper and Sons, are doing the building work, which is expected to be completed next February.
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