Golf club development draws closer to tee off

Grafton Golf Club Hole 11 green Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Grafton Golf Club Hole 11 green Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

GRAFTON District Golf Club is edging closer to its goal of turning its former 10th and 11th holes into valuable commercial real estate.

The Clarence Valley Council's environmental planning and community committee has just voted to approve sending the latest plan to turn the two holes into 14 residential blocks to next week's full council meeting back to the State Government planners.

But as has been the case since 2004 when the golf club first floated the proposal, residents were not happy.

The club had won the residents over in 2011 with a proposal to create nine one-acre blocks on the site, in keeping with the South Grafton Heights Precinct Plan, for the area, which zoned the area R5 rural residential.

Resident Kerry Hughes described the 2011 proposal as a win/win, but the club had other ideas and in December last year put forward a proposal for a 16-lot development with smaller block sizes and road frontages narrower than the surrounding blocks.

The plan won the approval of the State Government's Gateway planner, but councillors voted to send it back to the proponents for a re-draw in face of opposition from residents.

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

The new proposal, presented to the council last night makes some compromises.

The number of blocks has fallen to 14 and the road frontages have been widened to 37m, close to the 40m frontages called for in the precinct plan.

But Mrs Hughes is still unhappy with the 2000sqm minimum lot sizes which are half the size recommended in the precinct plan and told the council committee so in a deputation.

Surveyor Andrew Fletcher also made a deputation on the behalf of the proponents.

During debate Cr Richie Williamson said the latest plan was a significant improvement on its predecessors.

"This should go ahead," he said. "It's making better use of highly sought-after residential land with all the facilities and infrastructure already in place."

Cr Williamson said objectors had raised other issues, like the financial viability of the club, which were not planning matters and should not be considered.

Grafton Golf Club Hole 11 Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Grafton Golf Club Hole 11 Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

Cr Greg Clancy opposed accepting the new plan.

He said the development was in the wrong place.

"There are other areas for expansion. This is a loss of open space and not to be supported," he said.

Cr Peter Ellem also did not support the new plan.

He pointed out that it was the golf club and not the objectors which had brought financial viability into the argument.

"It's not a compromise," he said. "It's a a one-way win and to paint it any other way is a bit rich.

"I'm going to show solidity with the residents. Good luck to the club with their development, but I'm not going to support it."

Cr Andrew Baker said for once he was in agreement with Cr Williamson.

"I didn't think there was a need to send it back for one more redraw," he said.

"But in this case and for only the one time I would have to say it's produced a good result."

The committee voted 3-2 to recommend the council approve sending the plan to the Gateway for approval.

Topics:  clarence development grafton golf club

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