Nearby homes are for sale.
Nearby homes are for sale.

Delays frustrate mill co-op

TWEED Shire Council has been accused of delaying the sale of homes – worth millions of dollars – which the NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative wants to urgently offload as it battles debt.

Co-operative chief executive officer Chris Connors said yesterday the council had not provided approvals for separate titles for the properties following a process that “started 18 months ago”.

The 17 mill-owned houses at Condong are part of a package of 34 properties near mills at Condong, Broadwater and Harwood which the co-operative wants to sell to return the co-op to a debt-free situation.

But the co-op has been frustrated by delays in getting separate titles for the houses – used to accommodate mill staff – from the Tweed, Richmond River and Clarence Valley councils.

Mr Connors said with the co-op wanting to sell the houses to remedy its financial circumstances, “to go through these government processes is just a joke”.

The sugar co-op had to apply for subdivision approvals for most of the homes at Condong, where up to eight had been built on each lot.

The development application caught the co-op in a net of government and council red tape, in one case forcing it to provide a “noise assessment” of the impact on the Condong Primary School next door even though, as one person put it, “the buildings have been there longer than you and I”.

All the properties are on the riverbank and have attracted strong interest from buyers. Eleven of them have contracts conditional on the council approvals.

Yesterday a council spokeswoman said senior staff had “dedicated significant amounts of time and expertise in assisting the mill representatives in dealing with a number of complexities ... such as potential land contamination, and issued consents for four development applications two weeks ago”.

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