The demolition of homes in Stevenage to make way for a new development has stopped due to "potential bat habitats".

The demolition of Hobbs Court in Vardon Road - a sheltered housing scheme of 41 homes - began in February and was expected to take 10 weeks.

Residents were rehoused to other schemes across Stevenage last year, with plans for Hobbs Court to be replaced with a similar scheme.

It forms part of wider plans for the regeneration of The Oval, with a planning application for 250 homes and commercial space in the pipeline.

However, concerns over the potential for disturbing bat habitats has forced the demolition of Hobbs Court to stop.

Councillor Jeannette Thomas, Stevenage Borough Council's deputy leader and portfolio holder for housing and housing development, explained: "The council and its contractors have paused works to the demolition of the former Hobbs Court so that further mitigation steps can be taken to safeguard the situation for potential bat habitats.

"This approach has been implemented in consultation with Natural England and the contractors are following their guidelines.

"The work to safeguard the potential habitats will continue through June, after which the remaining structures will be demolished later on in the summer.

"The council remains committed to improving the local environment for residents by offering new development that is much improved and delivered in a sustainable manner that respects the needs of wildlife."