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Developers forced to alter 22-lot housing site in Orange to make way for roosting bats

June 6, 2022

Stock image.

By David Fitzsimons

Developers have had to change their plans for a 22-lot housing site in Orange to allow room for the city’s controversial annual visitors – bats.

Land on Ploughmans Lane where the flying foxes have been setting up camp in summer since 2018 will be exempt from being turned into housing.

An amended development application to create a housing estate with a new road off Ploughmans Lane between The Escort Way and Coronation Drive is now on public exhibition at Orange City Council.

The DA states council concerns about the bats (listed as a vulnerable species) and the potential for one-in-100 year flooding on part of the land, led to a change of plans.

The site of the proposed development. Supplied.

The application has been submitted on behalf of three property owners in the area.

“The revised submission is supported by a flora and fauna assessment. [It] considers the potential impact of the proposed development on the grey-headed flying fox camp as well as providing a series of recommendations to minimise and avoid the potential for significant adverse impacts,” it says.

The plans propose maintaining trees where the bats annually roost but removing others close to where the houses would be built to discourage the bats from flying close to the homes.

A buffer zone of up to 50 metres would be created.

The green area is to be left as open space for the bats and for any flooding. Supplied.

The report says there are significant public concerns about the bats.

“Communities living near flying fox camps often struggle with the impact of noise, odour and flying fox droppings,” it says.

“In times of food scarcity flying foxes will adapt their diets. This means they can congregate very close to homes and generate amenity issues, health concerns, nuisance and damage to significant vegetation.”

Measures proposed to help residents include suggesting they do not plant fruit trees in their gardens.

The yellow area where the bats camp and the purple wider area of where they sometimes fly. Supplied.

While the flying foxes would be saved, local European wasps are not so lucky.

The report has identified an active wasp burrow on the site which it says should be removed.

“As the burrow is within the work area it is likely the European wasps will become aggravated, and may sting, due to disturbances including increased visitation to the site and proposed construction works,” it says.

“Early treatment of this pest species is required before any work is undertaken.”

The DA is on exhibition for public submissions until Tuesday June 21.


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