Iron gates court battle costs council $1m

THE closed entrance to the Iron Gates subdivision.
THE closed entrance to the Iron Gates subdivision.

THE long-running legal battle over the scrapped Iron Gates development near Evans Head has finally been resolved - although at a cost.

Richmond Valley Council has confirmed it spent almost $1 million in legal fees defending an action brought against it by the developer.

“We appreciate that it is a lot of money, but if it wasn't for the hard work of our staff, the action could have cost us more than $33 million,” mayor Col Sullivan said.

The lawsuit was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Queensland earlier this month.

The developer, Iron Gates Limited and Graeme Ingles, launched the action after the NSW Land and Environment Court stopped the council-approved development.

The Iron Gates blame game started more than a decade ago.

The subdivision was about to go on sale, an access road, including a bridge, was built, and sewer and water lines laid.

However, a challenge against the development saw the NSW Land and Environment Court order the road be ripped up and the environment remediated.

The Ingles Group soon filed for bankruptcy and started legal action against the council, claiming it provided engineering plans contrary to the approved development. The council argued the developer did not fully follow the development application.

The site remains zoned residential and is listed in the State Government's future development strategy.

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