03/12/2018 - 15:05

Court overturns approval for Dunsborough petrol proposal

03/12/2018 - 15:05

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The developer behind a long-running bid to build a 24-hour Puma service station in Dunsborough faces an uphill battle to get the project approved, after Western Australia’s Court of Appeal overturned a Supreme Court ruling that gave it the go-ahead last year.

Court overturns approval for Dunsborough petrol proposal
A significant number of Dunsborough locals have been battling for more than three years to block the development of a Puma petrol station in the town's centre. Photo: Puma2Go

The developer behind a long-running bid to build a 24-hour Puma service station in Dunsborough faces an uphill battle to get the project approved, after Western Australia’s Court of Appeal overturned a Supreme Court ruling that gave it the go-ahead last year.

Developer DCSC Pty Ltd, which counts Primewest director Jim Litis as one of its significant shareholders, will now have to decide whether to reapply to the State Administrative Tribunal to pursue the development or appeal the decision to the High Court.

DCSC’s plan to build a Puma petrol station at Lot 108 Dunn Bay Road, in close proximity to an existing service station, was initially rejected by the Southern Joint Development Assessment Panel in late 2015, a decision which was reviewed by the State Administrative Tribunal in early 2017.

The SAT delivered its ruling in August 2017, saying that the developer’s definition of the proposal as a convenience store rather than a service station constituted a permitted use for the land under City of Busselton planning guidelines.

But around the same time the SAT was ruling on the proposal, the City of Busselton instituted an alteration to its planning scheme, changing the definition of service station under its guidelines to include DSCS’s proposed use for the site.

The SAT decision to approve the development was appealed by the Southern JDAP in the Supreme Court of Western Australia, on the grounds that the tribunal had erred in issuing the approval on the basis that the development was a convenience store rather than a petrol station.

That appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court, effectively issuing approval for the project to go ahead, and the JDAP subsequently took its case to the Court of Appeal.

The case was upheld by the Court of Appeal early last month, with the decision released today.

Spokesperson for resident group Puma2Go, Tony Sharp, said any review of the proposal by the SAT in light of the Court of Appeal decision would need to be considered under the City of Busselton’s adjusted planning guidelines.

Mr Sharp urged Mr Litis and fellow DCSC director Kylie Brierty to work with the community to find a more appropriate use for the land, which is one of the last vacant development sites in the centre of Dunsborough.

A spokesperson for DCSC said the developer was surprised and concerned with the outcome, following three decisions that had ruled in favour of the application.

"The major concern here is that changes to planning can take place without the knowledge of the landowner, the JDAP and State Administrative Tribunal, after everyone has had their say at a final hearing," the spokesman said in a statement.

"This substantially increases the risk for all landowners because they cannot even go to the SAT confident that their time and investment in resolving disputes would be put to good use.

"The board of DCSC Pty Ltd will now consider the decision."

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