Council sued over Hastings bungle
THE long-running battle over development at Hastings Point has taken another twist with developers to sue the council over a bungled approval of a three-storey unit block more than two years ago.
PDK Developments, the same company behind the over-50s residential resort The Point, had wanted to build six units in a three-storey complex on the corner of Young Street and the Tweed Coast Road.
With the project now seemingly stalled, the owners of the site have warned they will be seeking compensation for “loss and damage” due to the council’s decision first to approve the development, then to block it.
Months after the first approval the Hastings Point Progress Association, which has been running a fight against what it sees as over-development in the village, won an appeal in the NSW Land and Environment Court arguing the council had failed to consider the project’s cumulative impact.
PDK then asked the council to reconsider a plan for seven townhouses in a three-storey complex.
The council rejected the plan and PDK appealed to the court, before again amending its plans to five units in a part two-storey, part three-storey complex which the council again rejected. The court backed the council.
In a report to councillors, staff have now revealed lawyers for the owner of the site have served notice that they may claim “loss and damage that they say occurred as a result of council’s failure to consider a relevant matter ... when it determined the development application in June 2007”.
The claim includes lost development potential of the land, holding costs and devaluation of the land plus legal costs since June 2007.
Council staff say the matter “has been referred to council’s insurance company to defend as necessary”.
The threat to seek damages is the latest episode in the legal battle over development in Hastings Point, which still involves appeals by the progress association against The Point project and has seen the council’s legal costs continue to mount.
Only last month it was revealed the council won’t be able to claim court costs against the association for its challenges to The Point protesters despite an earlier vow by mayor Warren Polglase to do so.
In his first major public statement after being appointed mayor in September, Cr Polglase warned opponents of the ‘seniors living’ complex not to continue with a court challenge to the council’s development approval.
Although the NSW Land and Environment Court awarded costs in favour of the developer in that case, senior staff revealed that because the council only had a supporting role, new legal advice had indicated the council was “not entitled to claim any legal expenses associated with the case.”