Plans for a proposed $33.9 million seniors' housing development at Skennars Head are yet to be considered by the Northern Regional Planning Panel.
Plans for a proposed $33.9 million seniors' housing development at Skennars Head are yet to be considered by the Northern Regional Planning Panel.

$33.9m seniors’ housing hub set to go ahead

A PLANNING panel decision that went against the developer of a proposed $33.9 million seniors’ housing hub at Skennars Head has been overturned in the Land and Environment Court.

The proposed development at 67 Skennars Head Rd would include 211 serviced homes for seniors, a clubhouse and other recreational facilities.

The DA was lodged with Ballina Shire Council by Planners North on behalf of developer GemLife in September, 2016 and remains undetermined.

The developer’s application for a site compatibility certificate (SCC), required under State Environmental Planning Policy, had earlier been refused by the Northern Regional Planning Panel.

SCCs are designed to ensure development plans are compatible with surrounding land uses before DAs are considered.

But the developer has successfully challenged the panel’s decision.

The panel decided on March 25 last year that the applicants “should not be issued with a site compatibility certificate” on a number of grounds, including that the application had not demonstrated the proposed development was “suitable for more intensive development” or “compatible with the surrounding environment and land uses”.

In a December 19 judgment, LEC Justice Nicola Pain said the panel’s decision was “void and of no effect”.

Ballina Shire Council’s director of planning and environmental health, Matthew Wood, said the council had been awaiting the resolution of the SCC issue before delivering its assessment report on the site’s formal development application to the panel.

“With the decision made by the Court, it is open to the applicant to now seek a new site compatibility certificate from the regional planning panel,” Mr Wood said.

“If a new site compatibility certificate is granted, council will proceed to complete the assessment of the application having regard for the terms of the certificate.

“We will then report the application to the panel for determination.”

Mr Wood said the council had “substantially progressed” its assessment of the DA.

“The completion of the assessment and reporting to the panel is now subject to whether or not a new SCC is sought by the applicant from the panel and in turn whether a new certificate is granted,” he said.

GemLife, a residential resort company, also has plans afoot for a similar development on the Tweed, along with others in parts of Queensland and one in Victoria.

The company has been approached for comment.



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