LAST night concerned residents and business owners met at the Colonial Motor Lodge Scone to discuss a proposal for a new development including a petrol station, restaurants and 30 bed motel on the Scone bypass. See related story: Established Businesses to be Bypassed.
John Preston, Upper Hunter candidate for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party addressed the meeting and discussed the process for development approvals leaving most of the attendees doubting the development will go ahead.
It was clarified that the land was currently optioned rather than purchased, may contravene the current Local Environmental Plan and would require state approval rather than Council approval.
“The first issue is it s clearly on flood plain and would probably require a change to the LEP,” said Mr Preston.
“Having done many major developments, you don’t change an LEP without spending at least $250,000 and it can take three years to get it changed,” he said.
“Even if they started on the development today they wouldn’t be serving their first burger for five years,” he said.
“While the Council may earn money from the development, for projects more than $5million they wouldn’t be the consent authority and this would have to go through IHAP (Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel) and the Office of Environment and Heritage would give it very close scrutiny,” he said.
“Having done many developments, I can tell you not everything that is optioned for development pans out and there are many hurdles for this development,” John Preston said.
Local Real Estate Agent, Pat Gleeson agreed it was not a done deal, citing several proposed developments on optioned land that had never eventuated.
Other residents highlighted issues with the flood plain showing images of flood water through the land, recounting how many times Satur has been cut-off from Scone in recent decades and were critical of the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) flood survey of the land.
“They (RMS) state here there is no difference between a 20 year flood and a 100 year flood, but I’ve got photos here to show there is at least 1.5 metres difference,” said David Spencer, resident Aberdeen Street.
Others were critical of Council’s revitalisation committee saying the committee had not achieved anything to date and questioned why there is so much work going into attracting people to the main street if the development is allowed to go ahead and circumvent people from coming into town.
Other issues which may preclude the development were discussed including petrol tanks being in a flood plain, evacuation considerations and endangered species.
Karen MacDonald, resident of Aberdeen Street, laughed “I’ll tell you who’ll be an endangered species Scone Shire Councillors!”
It was resolved a further meeting would be held at the end of April.