Choice Living appeals decision on original Bangaloe Stud proposal

With submissions yet to close on its scaled back DA for a caravan park on the former Bangaloe Stud site at Kincumber, Choice Living Australia has lodge a request for a review of the Central Coast Planning Panel’s refusal of its original application for an over 55s lifestyle community on the same spot.

The $19.7M project, comprising 202 houses and accompanying buildings, was knocked back last August following a protest campaign spearheaded by the Kincumber and Picketts Valley Community Action Group (KPVCAG).

Project Director, Phil Goodman, Project Director, said Living Choice had recently lodged a request to review the decision.

“To create truly unique places there must be open collaboration and negotiation between all stakeholders and there has to be a belief that a solution can be found to house an ever-increasing population base,” Goodman said.

“During the assessment period prior to August 6, 2020, we openly sought to work with Council towards a workable development.

“During this period, we received only two Requests for Information from Council, which we acted upon immediately.

“It was frustrating and disappointing to learn of additional requirements contained in the Council’s reports presented to the Local Planning Panel which had not been conveyed to us during the 200 days of the assessment period.

“Had such concerns been conveyed earlier, we could have clarified and responded to them prior to the Planning Panel’s consideration.

“For example, Council had not communicated any concerns in respect to flooding, stormwater, ecology or heritage during the Assessment Period.

“When we learned of the Council’s need for further clarity just prior to the Planning Panel Meeting we sought to have the matter deferred to allow for more time to provide the requested information.

“This request was denied.

“In seeking the review, the comments contained within the Council report and Local Planning refusal have been taken into account in reducing the yield to improve the proposed development, which now achieves a greater balance in providing suitable accommodation for a growing and ageing population, whilst still retaining key wooded hillsides and green corridor linkages, and re-establishing watercourses to mimic natural conditions in accordance with the zone objectives.

“These natural elements will be preserved and maintained, under the land lease community scheme, for the life of the community.”

Goodman pointed out that Living Choice was a major long-time employer and supporter of the region.

“Based on my experience in other jurisdictions and the stature of Living Choice in the community, we would have expected that the Central Coast Council officers tasked with assessing the application would have engaged in a more meaningful way,” he said.

Meanwhile, public submissions close on February 22 for the new proposal, for a $9.27M tourist/caravan park comprising 68 sites.

Of these, 31 would be used as “long-term” sites and 37 for “short-term” sites.

“The development is proposed to be used as a tourist park with draw card amenities and recreation facilities,” documents lodged with the DA say.

“The site will accommodate short stay visitors where stays will be limited to 180 days in any 12-month period, and long stay visitors/residents.”

The proposal also includes a community centre, a fenced dog park, bushwalking tracks including a canopy walk, an exercise circuit, a playground and a jumping pillow.

KPVCAG President Graham Murray says the new proposed development also raised concerns including the extent of large scale cut and fill earthworks, the proposed de-watering and filling in of a large dam and the potential loss of 210 trees (including 80 threatened species).

Goodman said future plans for the site would hinge on the success or otherwise of the new DA and the request for review.

Terry Collins