BILL Taylor and his wife Julie were shocked to hear the land they owned in Phillip Street may be turned into industrial lots and said Council’s claim that the land was undesirable for residential was a slap in the face.
Bill and Julie Taylor purchased the two blocks in Phillip Street from Betty Shepherd approximately seven years ago to build a residence on each block, but the experience with Council left them out of pocket and unable to build the homes.
After building a spec home on Moobi Road in Scone, which they successfully sold, the Taylors decided to buy the two blocks in Phillip Street, now the subject of rezoning, to build another two spec homes.
However, just six weeks after purchasing the land, the Council sent out a flyer to residents of Phillip Street advising them their land may be acquired to build an overpass.
The Taylors could not understand why Council didn’t advise them of the proposal for the overpass during the conveyancing process.
“We were shocked as the production of the document for publication and distribution indicated to us that Council knew there was a possible impediment on the blocks as three of the options offered up affected our blocks,” said Julie Taylor.
“Initially when I went there (to Council) they said I couldn’t build on it, but after I kicked up a stink they said, ‘oh well you can build them there if you like, but if the overpass goes in we’ll knock them down’,” said Bill Taylor.
“I paid $195,000 for two blocks which was about the market at the time, I paid $6,000 to get the soil tested on both blocks, I paid for a sketch of plans of one house that cost me a couple of thousand dollars and I sold the two blocks for $120,000,” he said.
“So that’s $80,000 straight up plus the rest to do the other stuff,” he said.
“I was sitting in there (at Council) looking over the plans and I was pretty cranky and I said, ‘you’ve just cost me $100,000 and you don’t care’ and he said, ‘tough titty’! That’s what he said to me!” said Bill Taylor.
But the bad experience for the Taylors didn’t end there.
“We were still thinking about the idea of building houses, in case the overpass didn’t go ahead and then I got a notice that there was application to build a shed right on the end (on the corner of Muffett Street and Phillip Street) and the shed was going to be 12 metres high and 30 metres long, a huge industrial shed and I had to object to it,” he said.
“The Council said, ‘well it’s got nothing to do with you’ and I said, ‘well if that shed’s built my blocks are going to be in shade all afternoon’, so it was stopped and the guy that wanted to build the shed resubmitted a revised plan and it wasn’t much different so I objected again, because it wasn’t industrial and Council said, ‘we can change that anytime we want’,” he said.
“They did say they could do anything they liked and I got the maps out and showed them it was residential and told them you can’t do it,” he said.
“There had been a little 10 by 10 shed on that land and the Council tried to tell me that because that shed had been there it could be deemed to be industrial, I said, ‘how in the hell could you do that?’,” he questioned.
“And he told me that’s just the way it is because there had been a shed there for so many years and I said, ‘what does deemed mean, because it is not zoned, so it is not industrial,” said Mr Taylor.
“The shed wasn’t built in the end,” Bill Taylor said.
Tired of fighting Council and having the possibility of an overpass keeping them in limbo with their property, the Taylor’s decided to sell the blocks and go travelling, however, then there was an issue caused by Council with the sale of the land.
“I had the blocks sold through an agent and when they did the checks with the Council, Council told him there was no sewerage there and the sale fell through,” Bill said.
“I didn’t find out about this until much later, but there was sewerage, I saw them putting it in!” he said.
“I went to Council and they said there was no sewerage there and I took the guy that looks after the sewerage out there and I said lift up that manhole cover!” he said.
“He did and saw there was sewerage there, but that cost me a sale because they (Council) said there wasn’t, their response was ‘oh well these things happen’,” he said.
“If I had of know at the time I could have fixed it and I would have got another $40,000 for the land, because the value kept going down,” he said.
“We eventually sold the land to this guy (Hamish Le Poer Trench) and he’d said he was going to put a diesel business on it and I thought ‘oh well good luck with that,’ but apparently he is going ahead with it,” Bill Taylor said.
(UPDATE: Mr Le Poer Trench is not the owner of the land. Please see: Setting the Record Straight.)
The Taylor’s are now travelling Australia in their caravan and regularly log onto scone.com.au to read the local news.
When reading the stories about the Council’s management of the rezoning, Mrs Taylor said, “I just burst out laughing and said, ‘it’s about time things caught up with them’.”
“I know another bloke in town and he was knocked back for a shed because it was deemed to be too big, so he put a shipping container on his block,” said Bill Taylor.
“There’s probably a lot of people that could tell a lot of stories about that Council, don’t get me started,” he said.
“There are plenty of industrial blocks there if they want them, so why should people come into town, it’s not right,” he said.
“We’re just glad not to be ratepayers of Scone anymore,” Bill Taylor said.