After analysing all of the submissions sent to Council relating to DA20/2172 Mananga Homestead and identifying significant anomalies, the Committee has sent the following communication to Council –
To: The CEO and All Councillors
Following renotification of the DA and prior to the cut-off date of 2 June, Council received 154 submissions objecting to the proposal.
This was the third time that submissions had been invited by Council due to the applicants’ insistence on providing more and more additional information, unnecessarily complicating the assessment process, and repeatedly delaying determination.
Over the course of the three submission periods from February to May, Council received 412 objections. There were 54 submissions in support of the application.
Abuse of the Assessment process
All 54 submissions sent in support of the proposal were personal references, and none referred to the key assessment criterion of Clause 5.10(10) or planning considerations that should affect determination.
This makes a mockery of the baseless criticism of previous resident objections made at the January Council meeting that, “the submissions say nothing about the development and are all about the applicants”.
31 (60%) of the personal references supporting the owners were comprised of contractors who had benefitted from work at Mananga, or business owners known to the applicants. The gathering of personal references, based on appealing to personal financial benefit, represents another serious abuse of the integrity of Council’s assessment process.
We note that most of the submissions didn’t include an address, presumably to conceal the fact that they didn’t live in the Berry area. This is cynical and hypocritical, as in the Briefing Notes document the owners had criticised the objections sent in December, claiming that 10% didn’t state their address and that many of the objectors were “out of towners and none of them can legitimately claim any adverse impact whatsoever”. These so-called “out of towners” were in fact local Berry residents living close to the town centre, who value the historic character of the town that attracts residents and visitors alike.
The main groupings of the personal references supporting the applicants are as follows
- Contractors – 12 (many used the form letter below with the same spelling error)
- Shop owners/ employees – 12
- Estate agent and family – 4
- Other personal connections – 3
- Addresses provided – Berry 4; Non-Berry – 8.
- Connection not yet identified, and no address provided – 12
To whom it may concern,
I am writing in regards to my support of the proposal for the above DA20/2172.
It has come to our attention there has been some unjustified negative opposition to the works that have been carried out and future usage of the Mananga Property on the northern entrance to Berry.
It is in my option that the restoration work conducted at the property have been repectful and tastefully carried out to bring a renewed lease of life to the property. I would like to acknowldge the forthought of the owners to use local trades people to carry out the work in efforts to restore the propety.
As for the proposal, for part of the property to be used as a function/ wedding venue I a in great support as this will provide future employment opportunities and connection to local buisnesses. To have such a facility within walking distance of the Berry CBD can only enhance the success of our local shops and buisnesses.
I look forward to seeing this property utilised to its full potential.