Brothels consent a council matter

ALLOWING sex workers to set up business in residential or other areas without seeking development consent was at the discretion of the Clarence Valley Council, according to the Department of Planning.

The Daily Examiner reported yesterday the council’s draft local environment plan (LEP) would allow ‘home occupation (sex services)’ to set up in areas zoned for residential, rural, forestry, neighbourhood or some other zones without approval.

If adopted, it would mean residents could not object if two sex workers set up next door.

Community group Valley Watch said it believed council was right in its assessment it had no choice but to allow one sex worker to set up business as a ‘home occupation’, but where two workers were to set up they would be considered under a different category ‘home occupation (sex services)’ and the council should require consent.

Council believed that under a template provided by the Department of Planning it had no choice but to allow both categories without consent.

Yesterday a spokesperson for the Department of Planning said the standard LEP template allowed councils to set local planning policies as well as specifying some land uses which must be included in certain zones.

“In terms of home occupation (sex services), the standard LEP template does not make any directions or inclusions relating to where this use should be accommodated. It is left for councils to determine where they are, or are not, considered appropriate and to list them in their land use tables accordingly,” the spokesperson said.

“As a result, it is Clarence Valley Council that has chosen to make this particular use permissible without consent in the range of locations outlined in its draft LEP.”

Submissions to the draft LEP closed on Friday, but the council is expected to accept further submissions until the end of the week.

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