Highworth residents gather to fight proposed village
More than 50 residents have gathered to share their concerns about a proposed multimillion dollar retirement village at Highworth.
Residents of Savilles Rd and nearby streets met with Sunshine Coast councillor David Law on Monday afternoon in a bid to have their say on the $70 million development application.
Highgate Developments, directed by Andrew and Jo Pitcher, lodged an application with the council in November last year for a 275-home retirement village named Grove Retirement.
The village 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.
Savilles Rd resident Peter Bradford was one of the organisers of the meeting and has been spearheading the campaign to have the development downsized.
"I was stoked by the turnout of more than 50 concerned residents from Savilles Rd and nearby streets," he said.
He said some came from further afield to voice concerns about environment and traffic impacts.
Mr Bradford said Mr Law explained the planning process, however many residents were unaware they would not be consulted.
The proposal is code-assessable, meaning it does not have to go through public consultation as it complies with local planning provisions.
"Many felt they were disenfranchised by not being aware of the fact that the code-assessable process means that citizens have little opportunity for input," Mr Bradford said.
"This was probably the biggest issue for many and showed how the current town planning process tends to exclude those most affected."
Mr Bradford said people who attended committed to making submissions to the council.
"They will also provide feedback to Mr Law through the appropriate channels to have him ensure those concerns are heard on their behalf."
Mr Bradford said environmental issues were also raised with many expressing dismay at the prospect of losing tall Queensland blue gums on the site.
The concerned residents have now agreed to meet again to keep the momentum building with a social media campaign set to be rolled out.
Sunshine Coast councillor David Law thanked the residents for the invitation to the meeting.
"It's important for people to be informed about projects and matters within their community," he said.
"The application is code assessable and is currently in the referral process of the assessment, waiting on the Department of Transport and Main Roads to provide input."
He said as the application was code assessable it was not subject to public notification.
"However council will take community concerns into consideration during the assessment," Mr Law said.
"As with all development applications, this application will be thoroughly assessed on its individual merits.
"The report will be available for public review once the assessment and recommendations are finalised."
The Daily contacted Mr Pitcher, he declined to comment.
Originally published as Highworth residents gather to fight proposed village