‘State interest’ ends subdivision

Jim Barns’s 157ha proposed development at Weyba Downs near Peregian Springs has been refused by the state government.
Jim Barns’s 157ha proposed development at Weyba Downs near Peregian Springs has been refused by the state government.

Deputy Queensland premier Paul Lucas has supported a Sunshine Coast Regional Council decision to refuse an application to develop a controversial 1200-lot residential subdivision at Weyba Downs near Peregian Springs.

The council refused the application by former Coolum developer Jim Barns in June, prompting him to lodge an appeal with the planning and environment court.

Mr Lucas, also the minister for infrastructure and planning, then used “call in” powers using grounds of “state interest” to assess the application, which is for a site outside the urban footprint at 37 Monak Road.

The property has been the subject of a long-running battle between the former Maroochy council and Mr Barns, who has a $20 million compensation claim against the council for injurious affection (loss of value).

Mr Barns has claimed that in 1994, midway through a development application, the site, which was zoned “future urban” with subdivision potential for around 1200 residential lots, was downgraded to “rural”, leaving it with a subdivision potential of only three to four lots.

The 157ha property, which was purchased by Mr Barns in 1985, is situated north of the new Peregian Springs roundabout and now bisected by the Sunshine Motorway.

Mr Lucas said he had decided to refuse the proposed development, saying it was contrary to the South East Queensland Regional Plan, which is designed to protect 80% of the region from urban development.

“If allowed to proceed, this development would have undermined the key planning tool that stops urban sprawl and protects our natural environment,” Mr Lucas said

“This is an important decision that backs up the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.”

Mr Lucas said the decision was backed by expert planning advice provided by the Department of Infrastructure and Planning, as well as an independent planning report commissioned from town planners Humphreys Reynolds Perkins.

He said 54 of the 55 public submissions opposed the development.

The state government will release an updated version of the South East Queensland Regional Plan in December.

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