Residents complain of lack of transparency around Hill Street public road closure

Map showing the “thin slither” of road closure, with no dimensions provided to residents.

A PROPOSED road closure and development application (DA) at 3 High Street, Nambucca Heads (DP 390600), has residents of High and Hill Streets submitting objections to Nambucca Valley Council.

Residents’ objections to the road closure and subsequent proposed development include a lack of transparency during Council process, loss of an iconic view of up to 70 percent from their living rooms and balconies, impacts on amenity, privacy, overshadowing, and potential reduction of property values.

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In July 2021, 3 High Street sold for $1.41 million, and in August 2021 Vista Projex Pty Ltd made an application to Nambucca Valley Council requesting a part road closure of Hill Street.

On 14 October 2021, Council resolved to agree “to the closure of part of Hill Street from High Street to step in the boundary in the north eastern corner of the land, which is Public Road”.

As part of the discussion, Council reported to Councillors that there were no environmental impacts, and no social or financial implications from the closure.

Councillors then adopted the recommendations for closure.

Residents feel there has been a direct lack of transparency in Council’s activities regarding due process.

The report of 14 October to Councillors did not state the economic benefit to Council once the road was converted into a lot, and potentially sold, and no mention of social impacts to adjoining residents, as at this stage they had not been informed.

There were also no environmental reports regarding water runoff from the parcel of land including reduced drainage, and adjoining land instability, which in October 2022 suffered a major land slippage.

At this time there had been no correspondence to adjoining High and Hill Street residents, and a decision was made without taking into account impacts to surrounding residents.

On 25 October residents received correspondence from Council notifying them of a proposal to close part of Hill Street.

The proposal described the closure area as a ‘thin slither’ of public road.

A diagram was attached to the letter with no detailed dimensions, no survey was provided (despite a survey being available to Council), and no explanation given as to the context or timing for the proposed closure.

The letter also did not explain that the proposal had already been presented to Council and adopted.

The proposal by Casa Koala Pty Ltd on behalf of Vista Projex Pty Ltd defined as ‘Integrated Development’ exceeds Council’s LEP in the overdevelopment of the proposed site, and needs to purchase additional land from Nambucca Valley Council, which the road closure area represents.

Residents are concerned that in effect, Council is being asked to consider a DA where Council benefits financially from the sale of roadway, that will directly benefit the developer and disadvantage current ratepayers.

Nambucca Valley Council’s Manager of Environment and Development, Daniel Walsh said, “Applications to buy unmade roads is not an uncommon occurrence, often residents, and landowners make applications to extend their backyards etc, the process can take years to process.”

High Street resident Mr David Pleasance said, “I feel the inclusion of this ‘thin slither’ of roadway creates a huge advantage to the developers of 3 High Street, over and above the current High and Hill Street residents.

“It is not the business of Council to create advantage to developers, as the original portion allowed only minimal development upon the existing site.”

Bernie and Geraldine Perkins have owned their unit at 1 High Street since July 2022, and to date have not received any correspondence in regards to Council’s land sale or a DA proposal at 3 High Street.

“We’ve owned our unit since July 2022, yet have received no correspondence on this matter at all from the council.

“They (Nambucca Valley Council) have been instructed of our email address for rates and all notices since last July, and we’ve received the same by email,” said Mr Perkins.

Residents are worried this development not only severely impacts on neighbouring properties, but increases the number of residents within a small area, putting added pressure on infrastructure projections such as sewerage, population, stormwater, and traffic/parking on High and Hill Streets.

“The DA proposal as it has been submitted has a disastrous effect on our amenity, overshadowing, privacy, and land values of myself and the adjoining residents in particular 1 High and 1 Hill Streets,” said Mr Pleasance.

Hill Street resident Nicola Lewis, who is new to the Nambucca Heads community, is devastated at the proposal.

“I think this development shows little respect for the beauty and culture of the area,” she said.

“If this goes ahead, I’ll be looking directly into a wall of verandas, five units, the overshadowing of my property will be extreme, and will reduce the outside amenity of my lifestyle, and outside use of my property.

“Back in October there was a massive landslide next to my home that council has done nothing about, and now I find a development literally on my doorstep that will potentially add even more stormwater onto my property from the reduced roadway, and down over the already affected area of slippage.”

Nambucca Valley Councillor David Jones understands the pressures being put on Council at present.

“The Council and community are now seeing the pressure that growth and change are having on our community.

“I believe the whole community needs to be engaged in a discussion of just what we want the Nambucca Valley to be, otherwise we drift, and some may say we die the death of a thousand cuts.”

Anyone who wishes to make written representations (either supporting or objecting) may do so to or by mail to PO Box 177, Macksville 2447.


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