THE proponents behind an East Coast rural retirement development are challenging a legal decision which ruled against its establishment.
Tempus Village has applied for a judicial review in the Supreme Court requesting that the decision be set aside and a new hearing convened.
It follows the recent decision by the Tasmanian Planning Commission to reject the rezoning of 18ha of agricultural land on the Kelvedon Estate south of Swansea.
It was the last hurdle in a lengthy planning approvals process.
Tempus Village managing director Les Walden said the challenge was being made for reasons of errors of law and the failure by the TPC to give due consideration to the positive evidence from the expert witnesses, the landowner Jack Cotton and the planning authority Glamorgan Spring Bay Council.
Tempus Village was approved by the council and the development permits granted, following three years of research and negotiation, subject to the rezoning approval.
Both the council and the commission have indicated they will accept the court’s direction and decision when made.
The hearing is due to start on June 15.
“We have requested the judicial review due to the bewildering nature of the decision and the report from the TPC which we believe bears no real relation to the hearings that took place late last year,” Mr Walden said.
He said he was concerned the full extent of the Tempus concept plan was not taken into consideration.
“Tempus solves a number of retirement living, economic, aged care and health services issues in the Swansea area and community consultation saw majority support,’’ he said.
“The rezoning application appears to have become a political football for the action groups who we believe were frightened that a Tempus approval could set precedent for the upcoming hearings into Cambria Green,” Mr Walden said.
Mr Walden said the Cambria site was 3100ha of some environmentally sensitive land and Tempus 18ha of land which is unused for farming.
“Great care has been taken, and money spent, on ensuring that all sensitive issues have been addressed by independent expert Tasmanian consultants,’’ he said.
“Tempus, through its expert witnesses and consultants, demonstrated that the piece of land wasn’t ‘significant’ agricultural land and that the village could co-exist with the neighbouring vineyard. “This wasn’t accepted by the TPC.”
“The Tasmanian system appears to be broken when it comes to the final hurdle for a well-designed and much-needed project with enormous benefit to the community.
“It seems too easy to stop something rather than find a way for it to happen.
“We get daily communication from members of the community expressing their disappointment regarding the TPC and the rezoning.’’
The local Swansea Chamber of Commerce has recently written to the Planning Minister to voice its dismay at the TPC decision.