More to iron out as developer takes council to court

ABOVE: Residents opposing the Iron Gates development outside the Richmond Valley Council meeting earlier this year. Photo: Susanna Freymark

STORY by Susanna Freymark

Council resources that are badly needed for flood recovery will be diverted to opposing another attempt to get the controversial Iron Gates development application approved.

The Northern Regional Planning Panel’s refusal to approve the development has been followed by the would-be developer Graeme Ingles launching an appeal against that decision.

This has left the council’s general manager disappointed.

Richmond Valley Council has received notice of an appeal by Goldcoral Pty Ltd to the Land and Environment Court of NSW about the DA refusal.

Although the matter was determined by the NRPP under NSW planning laws, Richmond Valley Council is the respondent to the appeal.

General manager Vaughan Macdonald said while the council respected the right of all applicants to appeal planning decisions, it was disappointing the community would have to carry the cost.

“The NSW Government established regional planning panels because it did not trust councils to make decisions on significant planning matters, such as those proposing the scale of development the Iron Gates proposal seeks,” Mr Macdonald said.

“Yet we will now experience the resource impacts of the NRPP’s decision being challenged, as our local community will be left to carry the cost of the court process.”

The timing couldn’t be worse with the council focused on flood recovery, Mr Macdonald said.

“At a time when the Richmond Valley is focused on the challenge of recovering from the worst flood on record, I’m sure our community would rather see these funds spent on fixing roads, repairing drains and helping people to get back into their homes,” he said.

At two public hearings in Evans Head in August, the NRPP listened to concerns about Iron Gates.

The panel announced its decision on the day of the hearing.

That decision refused the application for the development of 183 houses at Iron Gates.

People opposed to Iron Gates had hoped that would be the end of decades-long fight against the development.

But it is not. The matter has been listed for a hearing on Monday, October 24 in the Land and Environment Court.

Gates shut on Evans Head development

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