The latest attempt to restart a controversial development of sensitive coastal land at Evans Head has been dealt another blow after the state government’s planning department refused permission for it to go ahead without a masterplan.
The 30-year-old plan to develop the site, adjacent to a national park was first quashed in 1997 after activist Al Oshlack successfully challenged its development approval.
The court then ruled that roads and other infrastructure on the site were illegally built and should be removed. But its rulings were never complied with.
The project had been in limbo until a year ago when the Gold Coast developer, Graeme Ingles, returned to Richmond Valley Council with a scaled-back plan.
That plan has now been on hold for six months after council’s calls for further information from Mr Ingles have apparently fallen on deaf ears.
There were 57 public submissions about the Iron Gates development, most of them objections, including a number from state and commonwealth government departments.
The objections provoked Richmond Valley Council to request additional information from the developer, which so far have not been forthcoming.
Now the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DoPE) has rejected an application from the developer for exemption from a masterplan compliant with State Environmental Planning Policy No. 71 – Coastal protection (SEPP 71).
The Iron Gates falls within the sensitive coastal zone and is therefore subject to SEPP 71 and the requirement for a masterplan.
An application can be made to the planning minister to waive the need to draft a masterplan under clause 18 of SEPP 71.
Richmond Valley Council is unable to proceed with assessment of the proposal until such time as the masterplan has been submitted and approved by DoPE.
Should the developer wish to proceed with plans to develop Iron Gates, a fresh development application to Council will be required.