Village ruling shock

PROPONENTS of an $84 million rural retirement village and healthcare project south of Swansea have been devastated by the decision of the Tasmanian Planning Commission to reject the plan.

Approved by Glamorgan Spring Bay last February, Mayor Robert Young said Council was surprised and disappointed by the decision.

The development called the Tempus project was on land owned by the Cotton Family at Kelvedon.

It was to cater for regional and rural retirees.

Pets, including horses, were to be allowed.

The project was in partnership with Australian development and management company Tempus Village Management.

“It will be independent rural living with a difference – redefining retirement,’’ John Lewis, principal architect to Tempus, said at the time it was approved by Council.

The 18ha site, surplus to the Cotton farm’s requirements and not suitable for agricultural use, was planned behind Piermont Resort on the top side of the Tasman Highway.

Tempus managing director Les Walden said proponents were “dismayed and shocked that the three-member panel of the Tasmanian Planning Commission ignored the advice and recommendation of the Council as a planning authority, and ignored our independent experts”.
“Most of all, the majority of the community wanted this project to happen and we have a database of people from the area and beyond who were looking forward to living in this rural retirement concept who will be absolutely devastated, as we are,” Mr Waldon said.
“We don’t believe there was an open mind to this vision of rural retirement and nursing home that we were presenting and we have asked the Planning Minister Roger Jaensch for a ministerial review of the decision.”

At the time the council approved the project, senior planner Mick Purves said: “Review of the application and strategic documents identified that the proposal was consistent with the local Swansea Structure Plan, Glamorgan Spring Bay Strategic Plan, Regional Land Use Strategy and relevant state policies.
“In addition, the proposal provides infrastructure that provides for ageing in place within the local and regional areas. “The assessment therefore concluded that the council could support the proposal.
“In summary, the proposal has significant opportunity to provide positive environmental, economic and social impacts for Swansea and the regional community.’’

Mr Young said the decision came as a surprise to all.

“It appeared to be a good development that was to be mainly on very rocky ground that appeared to have little agricultural value,’’ Mr Young said.
“Council has no jurisdiction to deal with the matter further, it is up to the proponents to take such further steps as they may be advised.
“It seems to me that the Swansea community may well have been able to cope with this retirement development without overwhelming the township, or adversely affecting its residents.

“It must have cost a very considerable sum to get the project up as far as they did. “We wish them all the best for the future.’’

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