The expansion which had been proposed and was previously approved by a Land and Environment Court commissioner.
The expansion which had been proposed and was previously approved by a Land and Environment Court commissioner.

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PLANS for a major expansion to a seniors living project in Ballina have been refused after a lengthy court process.

Ballina Shire Council had refused development consent when Palm Lake Works Pty Ltd sought to have its property on North Creek Rd, Ballina, expanded with 75 new serviced self-care dwellings.

Palm Lake then took the matter before the Land and Environment Court, and Commissioner Dickson granted deferred commencement consent.

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But the LEC's Chief Judge Brian Preston has now upheld the council's appeal against that decision after a hearing in April.

The council appealed the consent on six grounds.

Judge Preston found five of those grounds were established, including those relating to "likely impacts", water and sewage services, the impact on aquaculture, the Acid Sulfate Soils Management Plan and the Coastal Management SEPP.

The council's arguments included that Commissioner Dickson "failed to consider the likely impacts of construction of road, civil and infrastructure works in the North Creek Road reserve" and failed to consider whether the proposal may have "an adverse effect on a priority oyster aquaculture area".

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He found the proposed road, civil and infrastructure works to take place within the North Creek Rd Reserve - essential to allow access to the expanded development - "would undoubtedly cause adverse impacts on the natural environment".

"North Creek Road adjoins land identified as coastal wetlands and proximity area for coastal wetlands under the Coastal Management SEPP and as priority oyster aquaculture areas under the Sustainable Aquaculture SEPP," Judge Preston said.

"Works within the road reserve had the potential to impact on Aboriginal shell midden material that might have been used in construction of the current road as well as on Aboriginal middens located adjacent to the road.

"The errors, both individually and cumulatively, are material and vitiate the commissioner's decision."

Judge Preston ordered the commissioner's orders be set aside and the matter be remitted.

Palm Lake was ordered to pay the council's costs.