Council denies 'conspiracy' over mayor's land

FORMER Ballina Shire councillor Margaret Howes is crying foul over a development application approved on land owned by Ballina mayor Phillip Silver.

The application for additions to a rural workers dwelling on land in Wardell Road, Lynwood, was approved by the council on December 23 last year.

In the current edition of the Ballina Shire Advocate, the development consent was advertised as being located at 'Wardellot' Road.

In a letter to Ballina Shire Council general manager Paul Hickey, Mrs Howes claims the development consent is not valid unless it is described correctly in its official advertisement.

Mr Hickey said the consent had already been issued and remained valid.

“It is nonsense to say it is invalid because of a mistake in the newspaper,” he said.

Mrs Howes also took issue with the development consent being issued to a T W Silver, instead of to the mayor and his wife - P W and V G Silver.

However, Mr Hickey said the development application had been lodged by a T W Silver, who resides on the property. He said it was quite a normal occurrence for someone other than a property owner to lodge a development application, such as renters or architects.

In her letter to the council, Mrs Howes alleged the mayor's development application had been 'treated so differently' to other applicants in that the council's policy 'specifically restricts the size of a rural worker's dwelling'.

She went on to allege preference had been given to the mayor having a rural worker's dwelling on 60 acres, when another applicant at Cumbalum had been refused consent for a similar dwelling on over 100 acres.

Mrs Howes' letter also referred to a previous application for a tourist cabin on the land in Wardell Road owned by the mayor, an application she claimed attracted some objections.

Mr Hickey said that Mrs Howes' inquiry would be reviewed 'like any other' and she would receive a response within two weeks.

“There is no conspiracy,” Mr Hickey said.

He said the council would be looking into whether the mistake in the council's advertisement of the development consent in the Ballina Shire Advocate was the fault of the newspaper.

The development consent is listed correctly on the council's website.

Last Friday, council staff acknowledged Mrs Howes' email and advised it had been referred to the general manager and the council's Regulatory Services Group.

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