Planning and environment – planning – appeal
against the decision of Council of 6 February 2012 refusing a
development application seeking development approval for the
construction and operation of a workers accommodation village on
land situated at 147 Yackam Road, Blackwater
Facts: This was an appeal against Council's
decision to refuse a development application for a development
permit for a workers accommodation village at Blackwater.
The site was 50 hectares and was occupied by a single dwelling
and cattle yards and had been selectively cleared for grazing
operations. The surrounding land was used for cattle grazing on
medium to large acreage lots.
The site was located in the Rural Zone under the Duaringa Shire
The proposal was for an accommodation village of approximately
24 hectares. It was intended to accommodate workers in the
resources industry around Blackwater, mostly mine employees. The
proposal was for long term "take or pay" arrangements,
meaning that the village would provide accommodation for workers
from a handful of mines on long term contracts with up to three
mine operators. The village would be comprised of 800 accommodation
units, with an additional 96 accommodation units for a construction
camp. Also proposed were 430 car parking spaces, bus parking and
drop-off area, kitchen, dining hall and recreation area, a swimming
pool, sports facilities, laundry units, sewerage treatment plant
The application was impact assessable and was publically
notified. Nine adverse submissions were received, seven being from
owners of nearby properties.
The issues in dispute were:
impacts on the character and amenity of the surrounding area
resulting from an increases in residential density, traffic, noise,
light and interference with domestic water supply for neighbouring
conflict with the planning scheme;
in the event of conflict with the planning scheme being
established, whether there were sufficient grounds to justify
approval notwithstanding the conflict.
Decision: The Court held, in dismissing the
In relation to the character and amenity issues:
An unacceptable risk of anti-social or illegal behaviour
resulting from increased residential density would not be a
necessary concomitant of the proposal.
Whatever traffic figures were accepted, the volume of traffic
would dramatically escalate upon approval of the proposal.
Given the sheer scale of the proposal it was appropriate to err
on the side of the more conservative approach to noise
Lighting would have an impact on the amenity of the area
although it would not be a large impact.
Any issues with respect to domestic water supply could be
addressed in conditions.
Any potential detrimental impact in the visual amenity of the
area could be satisfactorily addressed by the proposed landscaping
The proposal was in conflict with the planning scheme as to the
purpose of the Rural Zone Code, Specific Outcome S3, the purpose of
the Caravan Park and Workers' Accommodation Code and Site
Characteristics S6 of that code.
The conflict with the purpose of the Rural Zone Code emanated
from the proposal not being an agricultural or animal husbandry use
and not being of an intensity and scale appropriate to the
character and amenity of the surrounding area.
On any view, the proposal had the potential to involve up to
896 workers in a high density rural development amidst a quiet
rural area. Even with reduced occupancy rates, it would forever
change the amenity and character of the area in terms of traffic
volumes, noise and light. For that reason it was clearly in
conflict with Specific Outcome S3 of the Rural Zone Code. It was
not always necessary for lighting and acoustic codes to be breached
for the amenity of an area to be adversely affected by light and
Need had not been established.
The conflict with the planning scheme was a serious one. The
grounds relied upon by Transpac were not individually or
collectively sufficient to justify approval given the
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