21 February 2024

Eurobodalla Council rejects 800 home 'agri-hood' proposal for Broulee farmland

| Katrina Condie
Join the conversation
map of proposed development

The Farm rezoning proposal can still be submitted to the State Government for consideration. Image: Brightlands Living.

Eurobodalla Council has rejected a proposal for an 800-home ‘agri-hood’ development, known as ‘The Farm’, at Broulee.

Councillors voted not to support an application to rezone 126.7 hectares of farmland at 207 Broulee Road from RU1 Primary Production to C4 Environmental Living to facilitate what Sydney-based developer Brightlands Living described as “a unique community that integrates agriculture into a residential neighbourhood”.

At Tuesday’s (20 February) council meeting – the first for the year – Mayor Mathew Hatcher, along with councillors Amber Schutz, Tanya Dannock and Tubby Harrison went against staff recommendations and voted to support the proposal being tested for its strategic merit by the NSW Government’s Gateway determination process.

Councillors Rob Pollock, Anthony Mayne, Pete Diskon and Alison Worthington supported the staff recommendation. Cr David Grace did not participate in debate or vote due to a declared conflict of interest – he has family property nearby in Broulee.

READ ALSO Broulee population set to double if 800-lot development gets the go-ahead

Following a heated discussion in front of a full gallery, the Mayor used his casting vote and, after initially voting to send the project to the NSW Government Gateway for determination, he rejected the proposal.

“It’s my belief that we need to be open to new ideas and at least be testing those, but it fell four-four, and I had a casting vote, and with that, I went against my original decision,” Cr Hatcher said.

“I feel quite strongly that it’s not the role of any chair or mayor to, over a long term, change the direction of the shire.

“I think we need more support and, because of that, that’s why I chose the route that I did,” he added.

The ‘agri-hood’ proposal would incorporate a market garden, cafe, and wellness centre at the site, which is currently used for cattle grazing. It would also incorporate the Mount Oldrey Homestead and part of the Illawong Nature Reserve.

The development would include about 800 low and medium-density dwellings with an average lot size of 600 square metres, targeted to a mix of markets comprising over 55s, families and workers in clustered housing ‘hamlets’ linked by private roads.

READ ALSO Tathra bushfire survivors sue Essential Energy over 2018 blaze that destroyed 65 homes

Brightlands Living can now apply to the NSW Government to rezone the property to allow for an expansion of Broulee Village to the west side of George Bass Drive – setting a precedent for future development outside the Eurobodalla Rural Lands Strategy and the Eurobodalla Settlement Strategy.

“The proponent still has an option to push it onto the state anyway. It would just go there without the support of Council,” Cr Hatcher said.

Past applications for development consideration on the corner of Broulee Road and George Bass Drive, including a school, have been rejected on environmental grounds.

A planning proposal review prepared by an external consultant and presented to Eurobodalla Shire Council in July recommended the proposal not be supported as it would double the current population even though the site was not recognised for growth by any regional or local strategy.

Area map of locality of proposed Broulee development.

Area map showing the proposed Broulee development. Image: Brightlands Living.

The consultant’s report states, “While the ‘agri-hood’ vision in itself is commendable, it is considered that the draft planning proposal is inconsistent with the vision and planning of the strategic planning framework at State Government and Eurobodalla Council levels.

“This includes being inconsistent with the draft South East and Tablelands Regional Plan, Council’s Local Strategic Planning Statement and various state environmental planning policies and Ministerial directions.

“The proposal is inconsistent, or its consistency is not able to be demonstrated, with various Eurobodalla Council strategies, including the Eurobodalla Rural Lands Strategy and the Eurobodalla Settlement Strategy.

“The most fundamental issue is the site not being located within any current adopted growth area identified by the strategic planning framework. The proposed scale of growth and location is a significant departure from the strategic planning framework.”

The character of the proposal was also of significant concern, with the report stating, “It comprises a large development, essentially urban in density, form and character, on currently unserviced and isolated rural land.

“It will require a significant infrastructure investment.

“There are uncertainties in the delivery of infrastructure, in particular that of water and sewer, roads and public transport. It will result in the dispersal and inadequacy of infrastructure provision in Eurobodalla Shire and divert resources from the existing priority growth areas.

“The site will substantially change the rural character and impact Broulee village and the surrounding critically environmentally sensitive area.

“In conclusion, the extent of the inconsistency is significant, and it will undermine the achievement of Council’s current long-term planning. It is therefore recommended that the proposal not be supported.”

The Broulee Mossy Point Community Association (BMPCA) opposed the development on a number of grounds, saying: “The development does not provide a good model for housing development in the Eurobodalla”. It cites risks of environmental damage and says it “is contrary to the long-term concept of Broulee as an integrated village”.

“The BMPCA does support the design of future housing development to meet environmental considerations … it does not see this proposal as meeting these criteria.”

Original Article published by Katrina Condie on About Regional.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
Stephen Saunders3:48 pm 21 Feb 24

Good one. Now, how about nixing the corrupt and destructive 400 block “development” at Dalmeny.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.