Residents Rally to Oppose Rezoning

Filed in Recent News by July 23, 2019

BETTY Shepherd, the world’s first registered female horse trainer and life-long resident of Scone, may have had no problem in breaking the glass ceiling, but at 88 years of age now has to battle Council for her home.

Betty lives in Phillip Street, where all of the residents received letters from Upper Hunter Shire Council to say three blocks in their street will be rezoned from residential to industrial, to allow a diesel mechanic to open up directly opposite Betty’s home of 55 years. Read: Sconeite Snippet: Betty Shepherd.

See map showing the blocks below.

Local real estate agents believe it will drop house prices in Phillip Street, from 10 percent to up to 30 percent, depending how close they are to the proposed new development and some homes may be unlikely to find a buyer.

Dorothy Shepherd, Betty’s daughter, has just spent more than $250,000 renovating her childhood home and said it is completely unfair that the interests of one business owner should be at the expense of all residents in Phillip Street.

Sarah Howey and Dorothy Shepherd in front of Betty and Dorothy’s home in Phillip Street, discussing the rezoning.

“There is plenty of unused industrial blocks in the industrial area, so why rezone residential blocks?” questioned Dorothy Shepherd.

“Every morning I go into mum’s room and open the windows for her, for fresh air, but that won’t be able to happen with a diesel mechanic directly opposite with trucks coming and going all day,” she said.

Council passed a motion in February to rezone the land; Cr Ron Campbell argued that it was important to rezone as Scone Diesel and Maintenance, owned by Hamish Le Poer Trench, would employ two to four people. (UPDATE: Mr Le Poer Trench is not the owner of Scone Diesel and Maintenance, please read: Setting the Record Straight)

However, Dorothy argues those two to four people could still be employed by the same business in the industrial area.

Cr Sue Abbott opposed the rezoning, arguing there were plenty of vacant blocks in the industrial area, that a residential street with families and elderly people was not suitable for an industrial businesses and questioned land contamination on the blocks with diesel.

Dorothy Shepherd also owns a vacant residential block beside the proposed land to be rezoned and questions how she will ever be able to sell that land if the rezoning is approved by the state government.

“Why should the interests of one person be at the expense of everybody in the whole street?” said Dorothy Shepherd.

“If Council can rezone residential like this here, then they can do it anywhere in town and all Scone residents need to be aware,” Ms Shepherd said.

Sarah Howey, whose heritage home backs onto Phillip Street agrees.

“In the last few years many people have invested in Phillip Street and their investments will be cut overnight, just for one person who could be in the industrial area anyway,” said Ms Howey.

“We sold a block in Phillip Street and the new owner has invested $1 million and built two lovely new homes on it,” she said.

“Other people have built new homes in the street and invested $100’s of thousands of dollars and their investment will devalue too,” she said.

“There are plenty of industrial blocks available, so why should this be allowed?” she questioned.

“There will be trucks coming and going and diesel fumes in a residential area and it should not be allowed,” she said.

“If it is rezoned, there is nothing to stop the owner from selling that land and no guarantee of what might go there, once it is industrial there are no height restrictions and we could end up with anything there,” said Sarah Howey.

In Council’s planning proposal they claim the new development will have only positive social and economic impacts:

This planning proposal is likely to have positive social and economic impacts due to the increased opportunity for development that is in keeping with the industrial and commercial character of the area, resulting in greater investment certainty for land owners. The proposal will support economic diversification and the establishment of new employment generating businesses.

The residents are gobsmacked by their claims, saying they are land owners who will be negatively impacted economically and socially and an industrial development is not “in keeping” with a residential street.

While Council has approved the rezoning, the proposal has to go through a state government gateway process.

The deadline for submissions is close of business, Friday, August 9: Make a submission.

Residents are planning a meeting and organising a petition to oppose the rezoning.


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