In response to concerns raised by a large number of residents, the Committee has written to Council about the misuse of the description ‘primitive camping ground’ to obtain approval for luxury ‘glamping’ sites.
Our research shows that three very similar applications have been made in Berry, Woollamia and Barrengarry. All three applications are for ‘glamping’, but are applying to be assessed as ‘Primitive Camping Grounds’ under the Local Government 2005 Regulation Clause 9.
Clauses 1 to 8 of the 2005 Regulations specify critical requirements for camping grounds, including those for public safety, proximity to fire hydrants and hoses, facilities for people with disabilities and the banning of use of the camping ground for any other commercial purpose.
However, by claiming that the land use is for a ‘primitive camping ground’ under Clause 9, the applicant can avoid all the requirements listed in Clauses 1 to 8.
It seems that some planning firms believe they have discovered another flaw in planning provisions that can be exploited, and again it is at the expense of neighbouring property owners.
Here are some relevant examples of existing primitive camping grounds –
The nightly rate for these primitive camping sites is around $10, or free. The rate charged for the ‘primitive glamping’ sites is around $400 a night.
To the community, this ‘shrewd’ manipulation of the law exhibits the characteristics of a rort that could potentially endanger life, discriminate against the disabled and enable the subject site to be used for a commercial purpose detrimental to the amenity of neighbouring properties.
The Committee is not anti-glamping or anti-tourist development and is simply looking to Council to apply the letter and the spirit of the regulations that apply throughout NSW to disallow developments that aim to circumvent legislation, and negatively impact neighbouring properties, rural communities and the amenity of ratepayers.
We believe this is a serious issue that, if not dealt with promptly, could quickly become more widespread.
The Berry Forum Committee
Geoff Armstrong, Mary Beare, David Brawn, Garry Broadbridge, David Carter, Stuart Coughlan, John Cullity, Heather Macdonald, Gail Paton, James Robinson, John Underwood, Laurie Watson.