Cate Blanchett’s home extension plans ‘derailed by bat protection laws’

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Cate Blanchett has grand plans to build a meditation room in her sprawling country mansion – but has seen her plans ruined by bats.

The 51-year-old Australian actress owns a large mansion with acres of land and surrounded by ancient woods and a lavender garden in the Sussex countryside – with an abandoned cottage included within the grounds.

Reports have suggested Cate wants to bulldoze the cottage and erect an office garden – complete with a meditation room.

But her plans have gone awry due to a protected species of bat setting up home in the unmanned building, which has caused a DIY setback.

Cate Blanchett's home extension plans have reportedly been delayed by a bat survey
(Image: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

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According to The Sun, and unfortunately for Cate, surveyors uncovered a high likelihood that the flying rodents would set up home in her old cottage.

Bat living conditions effectively trump the rights of humans under animal protection laws – with experts required to be hired to help rehouse the mammals before building work can begin.

Cate's planning agent is quoted by The Sun stating: “The proposed building will be a place for the applicants to retreat to for work and relaxation.

“They are creative people and it is beneficial for them to have a place to work that is tranquil and inspires through the beauty of the art, architecture and landscape setting.”

Bats are a protected species in the UK and it is illegal to disturb or kill them
(Image: Getty)

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The abandoned cottage is said to have a “high suitability” for housing the protected bats, and now the Mrs America star faces a long process of submitting a “bat mitigation strategy” before her own construction plans can officially commence.

Mirror Online has contacted a representative of Ms Blanchett for comment.

Under the Habitats Regulations and the Wildlife and Countryside Act, bats are protected by law and people wishing to build in areas where bats are ‘likely’ to live have to carry out a bat survey to discover just how likely they are to be setting up home in constructions or the nearby area.

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Someone with a bat license will have to be employed to move bats if they are found in the area.

Initial searches of buildings for bats can cost up to almost £4,000 for the hire of experts.

While fines of up to £5,000 per bat can be issued if the animals are found to have been disturbed – or killed – by people.

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