PROTECTED reptiles have to be given a new home before a new factory can be built.

Planners approved the building of a new factory – after they made sure a colony of slow worms on the site had a new home to go to.

Worcester City Council approved the plans by Coom-ber Electronic Equipment to build a new factory at Brindley Road/Cotswold Way in Warndon, at a planning meeting at the Guildhall on Monday.

The slow worms were found on the site following a survey and will have to be relocated to a new home because they are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

It was originally thought that the site also contained another protected species – great crested newts – but none were found.

The slow worms will have to be moved to a receptor site because taking them to a temporary home and then retur-ning to them to the site after construction could cause them “stress or even death”.

A section 106 agreement is to be issued containing a proviso for moving the worms to a new home.

Coomber’s scheme involves building a two-storey factory.

When it is finished the building will include workshops, assembly and research facilities on the ground floor and offices on a mezzanine.

A smaller building to the north will contain warehousing and storage.

The new factory will be bigger than Coomber’s existing base, which has been in the Butts, Worcester, since the 1970s.

The company employs about 40 people although the new site will give it more opportunity to expand.

The plans include 69 car parking spaces, including four disabled bays.