AN endangered species of newt discovered at Pershore College has halted work on a £5.8 million development at the site.

The college, in Avon Bank, Pershore, is currently part way through the investment into new facilities and learning spaces.

But the 17 Great Crested Newts have caused work to come to a stand still, although the college says this will not delay the completion date of September 2015.

The scheme will see the site revamped, with the key change being the addition of a contemporary new glass building which will house a new science and technology centre, a new collections house, new teaching rooms and project spaces and extensive research and development facilities.

The new building, which will replace old and now unused facilities, will also provide a stunning new reception area for the college, which is part of Warwickshire College, and a viewing gallery over the collections house below.

A Pershore College spokesperson said: "As part of the preparation works, an ecological survey was undertaken to check on any protected wildlife habitats and subsequent endangered species that might be affected by such a project.

"The first survey undertaken was clear and building works were scheduled to commence. However, a second survey conducted in April identified a medium population (17) of Great Crested Newts within 500m of the development site.

"The risk of finding this endangered species formed part of the college's risk assessment plans and the college is taking the required actions to mitigate the risk and protect the newts.

"Whilst these actions are undertaken, external works will not take place. However, we will still be undertaking internal works that do not impact on the newts.

"The project is due to complete in September 2015 and we will be working with our contractors to accelerate the build process once we are in a position to restart external works, this is likely to be in September 2014."

Current college activities and facilities for students are set to be unaffected during the works.