Tweed shire councillors will investigate the impact from a 10-metre-wide, 2.4-kilometre road a Tweed Valley landowner built through his property which shire officers suspected was an unauthorised race track.
The Dulguigan landowner claimed it was a ‘farm’ road to be used for extensive agriculture after council officers inspected the site and said it appeared to be a racetrack, configured with a closed looped similar to such tracks.
The owner’s planning consultant told council the road on the property at Dulguigan Road had been built for the purpose of extensive agriculture and therefore could be done without council approvals.
Last month, the consultant again wrote to council advising that because ‘council’s primary concern is that the farm road is looped’, the landowner wanted to amend their formal development submission to remove around 100 metres of the looped road at the northern end of the property to ‘instead provide connections to the shed and other internal roads’.
Council planning chief Vince Connell recommended in his report that given that advice and the fact no complaints had been received nor had the road been observed as being used as a race track, council ‘acknowledges the farm road has been constructed as part of development for the purpose of extensive agriculture’.
But Mr Connell recommended council engage its solicitors if any complaints about the road were made or if it was seen to be used as a race track or for any other unauthorised purpose.
Councillors however overturned the recommendation at the instigation of mayor Gary Bagnall and Cr Katie Milne, voting unanimously to defer the matter for a workshop to seek technical advice from relevant government agencies on drainage and flooding impacts of the road works on and around the site.
In their report, planning staff said their inspection and images from Google Earth this year revealed the road ‘appears to be a race track’ and a that a search of council files found no approval for such a structure at the property had been granted.
‘The constructed road has also been investigated in light of it potentially interrupting the overland flow of water,’ the report said.
‘The owner has advised council officers that laser levels have confirmed that the height of the constructed road is below the existing road on the subject site and roads in the local area.’
The landowner’s consultant told officers the farm road allowed ‘for the movement of farm machinery and equipment to the various parts of the property’.
But council officers said the Google image ‘clearly indicates the extent of the road works (farm road) undertaken by the owner and the configuration of such’.
The owner had then provided a concept plan indicating the scope of works proposed for the site (below).