‘Absolutely astounded’: Residents’ alarm at $70m project
Savilles Rd resident of 30 years Peter Bradford says he was shocked to learn a $70 million development pitched for his rural area could soon bring many new neighbours.
Andrew and Jo Pitcher of Highgate Developments lodged a development application with Sunshine Coast Council last year for a 275-home retirement village on Savilles Rd at Highworth.
"One of our neighbours raised the matter at Christmas drinks last year, so just before Christmas, we heard about it but I didn't actually realise at the time the extent of it," Mr Bradford said.
"I've done some research and looked at the size of the plan and I'm just absolutely astounded at the size of it."
The village, named Grove Retirement, will feature two and three bedroom homes and community facilities including function rooms, pools, tennis courts, a bowls green, cinema, gym, offices, a Men's Shed, a small golf centre and RV and caravan parking.
Mr Bradford said other residents were also surprised to learn of the plans.
"These folk who live along Savilles Rd, most of them have lived here for quite a long time, they've got used to having what's a relatively quiet street, although that's changing with the development to the east of us (Tulipwood Estate)," he said.
"Most of them weren't aware either and that's because this is code assessable and there's no legal requirement for the council to tell us.
He said he was surprised to learn residents on the western side of the development were approached by the developers last year.
"It seems a bit off to have one side of the development aware and the eastern side not to be aware of it," he said.
"Everyone has been quite shocked when I told them."
Mr Pitcher said there was no obligation for a landowner to advise neighbours of code-assessable applications.
"However, due to some clearing of weed species we undertook at the start of the project, under an operational works permit, we did a letterbox drop to 40 neighbours along Savilles Rd, Mapleton Rd, Vivian St, Bangalow Cr and Kentia St on the weekend of 3-4 October 2020," he said.
"I received a few phone calls in response and met with several people to discuss our plans.
He said he had follow up meetings regarding footpath and road matters on the western side of the development.
"All matters were discussed and agreed," he said.
John Taylor has owned the land on Savilles Rd for 15 years and said the only change he had seen was the new Tulipwood Estate.
"Other than that nothing's changed to a great degree," he said.
"I'm not against development in any way but I just think that 275 dwellings on this particular parcel of land is too much."
It's understood the project would take about five years to construct and would be split into 15 stages.
Mr Bradford said he had spent the past week reading documents and reports associated with the development application.
He said he had concerns regarding traffic impacts to their neighbourhood.
"There's assumptions in the traffic report about the numbers of cars that will enter and exit this proposed development and they're based on traffic flows from Sundale which is down the bottom of Carter Rd," he said.
"It has a population that will be nothing like the intended population of this development.
"It's described as retirement village in fact it's more like an over 50s gated community so assumptions about how many cars people will have and the kind of travel patterns that they have are actually based in my view on a flawed model."
In response to those concerns, Mr Pitcher said Highgate Developments had engaged qualified traffic engineers to advise on all aspects of traffic management for residential and retirement communities.
"As with all of our projects, we are always happy to meet with residents to discuss any concerns they may have," he said.
"Density in this case is well within what is allowable in the (council's) code.
He said his company had completed projects in Buderim, Nambour, Mooloolah Valley and Little Mountain in recent years.
"We believe the outcomes of these projects for the communities concerned have been more than satisfactory," he said.
Mr Pitcher said the land had been zoned for residential or retirement Living since the 2000 Maroochy Town Plan.
"Our application is code-assessable and there is more than adequate market demand for the product," Mr Pitcher said.
"Concerns about the town plan should be addressed to Sunshine Coast Council."
Mr Bradford is set to meet with Sunshine Coast divisional councillor David Law to discuss his concerns further on Monday.