Council rejects 121-place ECEC service at Yoogali leaving developer ‘perplexed’
A Sydney-based property developer is investigating legal action against a New South Wales local council after what he termed “a fully compliant” application to develop a 121-place service in Yoogali, which was recommended for approval by Griffith City Council, was rejected based on “quite a deal of debate”.
The development was unanimously knocked back by councillors, despite being recommended for approval by Council staff, with developer Ben Hewlett, Managing Director of the Hewlett Property Group, telling the ABC the decision was “purely a political result on the personal opinions of councillors, which is a major concern”.
Mr Hewlett said that by failing to approve the application, the Council had “failed the young families in Griffith and those families’ potential to contribute to the community, as there are only 425 places of childcare offered for over 1,700 children.”
Griffith City Council Mayor John Dal Broi conceded that there was a need for more childcare in the region, telling the ABC the council hoped it would reach an agreement with Hewlett Property to build the centre elsewhere, saying “we would certainly like to encourage the proponents that if they don’t pursue with this particular site then they look at another site. There is a need for it and we would encourage it.”
Local residents reportedly expressed concern about the location of the service near a busy intersection and the subsequent impact to local traffic.
Yoogali resident James Hood told the ABC that there “are plenty of other blocks within 500 metres of that vacant block that would better suit the day care centre” owing to their turning lanes, bigger blocks, and off road parking spaces.
Griffith City Council is significant for its location in what is considered to be “one of the most diverse and productive regions in Australia” making it an attractive region for jobs and young families.
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