South Grafton resident Kerry Hughes looks over the site of a proposed development she and other residents are opposing on the golf course.
South Grafton resident Kerry Hughes looks over the site of a proposed development she and other residents are opposing on the golf course. Tim Howard

13-year golf wars saga continues to cause grief

SOUTH Grafton residents are furious at the latest twist in the 13-year saga to turn two former holes at Grafton District Golf Club into a residential development.

Kerry Hughes and her husband Doug live across the road from the development on a one-acre block.

During a deputation to Tuesday's Clarence Valley Council meeting she said they had all built in the area to enjoy the ambience of large semi-rural blocks.

They are concerned the latest plans will change the ambience of the area.

"We are extremely disappointed that the club continues to push the envelope, by presenting this proposal to gain more lots not in keeping with the intent of this type of zoning, rather than accepting the win-win outcome of the 2011 determination by council," she said.

The debate at the council was fierce with one motion and a foreshadowed motion beaten before councillors agreed on a second foreshadowed motion from Cr Richie Williamson.

It agreed to keep the 16-lot development, but called for the planner to change the layout and size of the blocks to take into account the objections from residents.

The councillors agreed these changes would most likely need to go back to the Gateway for approval.

Earlier Cr Andrew Baker said the State Government had given the council the opportunity to push ahead with the development.

He dismissed residents' objections that 1500sqm blocks were too small. He said his experience was many people with 4000sqm blocks were tired of the effort required to maintain them. Making smaller blocks was also environmentally friendly, more efficient use of available, serviced land.

Cr Greg Clancy said increasing density of housing would be damaging to the environment. He noted there were endangered bird species at the course and said that during a meeting with residents at the course earlier in the day had seen one land in a tree.

But Cr Arthur Lysaught said the concern should be for people and not "warblers or frogs". He said the development was a financial necessity for the golf club, which had recorded a profit of just $7000 last year.

Cr Peter Ellem attacked the chopping and changing to the plan over time, saying there was no good planning behind the latest decision to increase the number of lots.

Cr Williamson said rejigging the plan might be able to satisfy both sides.

He said making bigger lot sizes to front Bent St would allow houses to be built further down the slope, reducing the visual impact for current residents.

Mrs Hughes said the residents planned to hold more meetings with the club and the council next week.



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