VCAT decides on Diamond Gully subdivision

Local residents supported by FOBIF went to VCAT to review a Council decision to grant a permit for a 7 lot subdivision in high conservation bush at Diamond Gully (on the western edge of Castlemaine). The development will involve the clearance of 2.4 hectares of bush that has been recognized by the DSE as being used by the threatened Brush-tailed Phascogale. On the 22nd November, VCAT decided to support the subdivision but with conditions.
Recent VCAT decisions have tended to reject housing estate proposals for areas containing high conservation significant vegetation. In this instance the VCAT member decided to allow the subdivision to proceed, but applied conditions which he thought would produce positive environmental outcomes:
· The development is to be a cat free zone.
· The number of lots is reduced to 6.
· There is to be no internal fencing between lots, other than fencing off domestic areas. This is to encourage wildlife movement.
· Part of a Management Plan will be to install nesting boxes on the site.
FOBIF remains concerned that in this Shire, the only way to get permit conditions on a development proposal that respect the environmental conditions on the site, is to seek a review of a Council permit at VCAT.
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