The development application (DA) for Bellingdale Farm at 47 Hindmarsh Road, Nunderi that sought approval for work undertaken without consent was refused at the recent Tweed Shire Council planning meeting.
The site had an approved ‘restaurant, cafeteria and gallery (craft shop) in existing buildings on the subject site under D88/0153 on 19 April 1988’. However, since 2020 when the site was taken over by new owners there have been works without consent as they sought to expand the existing restaurant as well as the site being used as a wedding venue.
The zoning is RU2 which allows the restaurant/café with consent but does not allow function centres that are specifically prohibited in that zone.
The staff report states that, ‘the proposed operation of the premises with a GFA of 820.38sqm, a nominated capacity of 153 guests/patrons, two bars and a dance floor area is more akin to a function centre which is prohibited in this zone’.
Before purchasing the property the buyers sought advice from the council on what they could potentially do at the site and the permissions required.
In the report to council staff pointed out that, ‘Prior to the purchase of the property in 2019, Council officers provided detailed advice to the applicants, highlighting the need to reconcile any new use of the existing site and buildings within the terms of these historical approvals, or seek relevant modified approvals to respond to any variance in business operations. Since 2020, Council has received complaints in relation to unauthorised works on the site, and the hosting of wedding on the premises, which has resulted in noise complaints.’
The report also highlighted that the applicant has previously advised Council that they are ‘currently operating, with only a restaurant, wedding reception and accommodation uses’.
The report also noted that the council sought confirmation from the applicant ‘requested (via legal channels) to confirm if the application sought to include the hosting of weddings (and other similar functions) as part of the proposal. No written response was received’.
‘As is highlighted in the report there does seem to be too many too many inconsistencies and issues that have been raised within the report to be able to address this in terms of further information or amended plans,’ Mayor Chris Cherry (Independent) told the Council meeting.
Key issues with DA include: concern over previous work that was done without consent and was non-compliant, failure to address noise assessment adequately, deficiencies with the Onsite Sewage Management, concerns over water management, failure to demonstrate road access and driveway are adequate, and limited ecological assessment information. Essential Energy also ‘raised some concerns in relation to safety given the limited information shown on the plans’.
‘It really does seem from the report that the business does seem to be carrying out something that is much more similar to a function centre than a restaurant and we do need to be mindful of what is precluded in the zone.’
The application was refused by the majority of councillors with only conservative councillor Warren Polglase voting in favour. Cr Reece Byrnes (Labor) was absent.