April, 2022: Submission to the Land & Environment Court
Proceedings No. 2021/00361596

Shoalhaven City Council - DA21/1480
Lots 2, 3 & 4 of SF9847 and parent lots 68 & 69 DP 25550 and Lot 4 DP 785956
Island Point Rd/The Old Wool Rd, St Georges Basin.

May 2022: The Village Grove - SCC DA 21/1480
The Land & Environment Court held a Conciliation Hearing on 29th April. During the hearing Council’s solicitor presented the BVF submission to the Court. The outcome of the hearing was that the Conciliation was terminated by the Court and the matter is now to be heard at a date to be set, probably in July or August.
BVF will prepare a submission to that hearing and is happy to co-ordinate other individual submissions in the manner normally required by the Court.

Development application to build 28 multi dwelling houses which form the initial stage of the proposed ‘Village Grove’ development.

This submission to the Court is made on behalf of the committee and members of the Basin Villages Forum, the Community Consultative Body recognized by Shoalhaven City Council as representing the residents of St Georges Basin, Basin View, Sanctuary Point, Old Erowal Bay and Erowal Bay. It is presented by the Forum’s Vice President Philip Blackman whose address is 39 Island Point Rd, St Georges Basin, NSW 2540. Mr Blackman is a now retired property industry consultant with extensive experience in new residential development.

Our objections to the proposed development concern four aspects:

Failure to meet the Objectives of B4 Zoning
The subject site is zoned B4 – Mixed Use and the development application is for the construction of 28 multi dwelling houses (which is a permitted use) on three of the ten lots. It should be noted that the Village Grove website ( indicates that the applicant intends to build similar residential dwellings across the entire site.

The objectives of the B4 Mixed Use zoning are:

This site is zoned B4 mixed use and forms part of the village centre. If the site was intended to be used entirely for a new residential development, it would have been zoned R2 requiring the more appropriate controls applicable to that zoning to apply.

The B4 zoning for the site demonstrates that the clear intention of the LEP is that it be developed in a manner that enhances the village centre and facilitates the provision of additional commercial activities and essential services for the community. Allowing multi dwelling housing on these three lots initially and potentially subsequent lots will sterilise the area for other permitted uses and severely limit the potential for growth of the village centre that benefits the community.

In our view, this DA should not be considered in isolation. It is essential that a concept masterplan for the entire site be submitted by the applicant to demonstarte how they intend to meet the objectives of the B4 zoning before approval can be granted for multi dwelling housing on any individual lot.

We also note that the currently proposed subdivision component would result in each dwelling house being located on its own lot of land. This would be defined as a “dwelling house” rather than “multi dwelling housing” under the parent term of “residential accommodation”, and therefore considered prohibited development. In our view, the revised plan of subdivision submitted by the applicant does not resolve this issue. The same detached dwellings remain on individual lots and therefore must be defined as “dwelling houses”.

Level of Density
The Statement of Environmental Effects prepared by Allen Price & Scarratts Pty Ltd states that:

“In terms of considering the potential development capacity of this site that is zoned B4 (Mixed Use), the multi dwelling housing development does not necessarily reach the maximum development potential of the site (as explained in Section 3) but instead provides an outcome that is more compatible with existing surrounding development.”

The lot sizes proposed range from 300m2 to 450m2. All of the existing lots in the adjacent area exceed 600m2 and some more than 2500m2. The proposal is far denser and the lots far smaller and narrower than the surrounding development and the proposal does not provide “
an outcome that is more compatible with existing surrounding development.”

The SEE also states that:

“The surrounding built environment is primarily residential and business in character and a mix of single and double storey dwellings. The proposal is consistent with the St Georges Basin, Village Centre Development Control Plan provisions that includes achieving higher density residential areas. A similar unit development has recently been approved across the road from the site on Lot 5 DP 1123774. Adjacent undeveloped land to the north of the site is also zoned B4 (Mixed Use) and therefore the development area is in transition to a higher density of land use.”

There is no demonstrable need for ‘higher density residential areas’ and the ‘similar unit development’ referred to was the subject of a very large number of objections from the community, followed by a protracted case before the Land & Environment Court. The two four storey buildings that did receive approval from the L&EC are yet to be built. As a result of community concern Shoalhaven Council voted unanimously to reduce the height of buildings from 13m to 8.5m on the balance of the land to ensure that further multi dwelling apartment buildings could not be built on these sites in Anson Street adjacent to the subject site. We also contest the statement that “
the development area is in transition to a higher density of land use.” It is not.

The combined area of the site used in the SEE for the purpose of calculating density is 16,619m2. However, this includes Lot 1 which has an area of 6098m2 and is shown on their website as ‘future residential’. The total area of Lots 2, 3 and 4 is therefore 10521m2 making the density greater than 25 dwellings per hectare.

The only ‘higher density’ developments in St Georges Basin are single storey freestanding seniors living dwellings such as Rosevale Village and the AVEO Retirement Village, both of which include additional facilities and services for their residents. Each of these retirement complexes comprise approximately 25 dwellings per hectare. No equivalent facilities or services are proposed for the subject development.

The level of density proposed for the site is out of proportion to the area. In a village where the average density is less than 10 dwellings per hectare, residential densities of 25 dwellings per hectare make no sense in a rural location with almost no public transport and very limited physical and social infrastructure.

(Note: The 2016 census reveals that the villages of St Georges Basin and Basin View combined, contained 1977 dwellings. The Shoalhaven City Council forecast is that this will increase by 754 to a total of 2731 by 2036, that is a requirement of just 38 new dwellings per year.)

A further impact of the proposed density will be on the availability of parking in the immediate area including the adjacent carpark at the IGA shopping centre. The lack of effective public transport in the region has resulted in higher-than-average numbers of vehicles per household which, with limited off-street parking, narrow roads and a large number boats on trailers, is already causing severe congestion in various parts of the village. There is concern among many in the community that the overflow from the proposed residential development will adversely impact the availability of parking at and access to the shopping centre and surrounding streets.

Character of the Proposed Development
St Georges Basin and the surrounding area is characterised by low scale development and areas of significant vegetation. Most dwellings are single or two storey homes on lots that are 600m2 or more. Multi dwelling housing on small lots is out of character and incompatible with the prevailing building form and open nature of the village.

The Illawarra-Shoalhaven Regional Plan outlines areas in which new medium and high-density housing is to be accommodated and the subject site is not identified. The Jervis Bay Settlement Strategy identifies St Georges Basin as having potential for future growth whilst ‘maintaining the existing and future desired character of the area’. Multi dwelling housing is not a part of the existing character of the area and recent surveys of residents have shown that it is not a future desired characteristic.

Additionally, the South Coast of NSW is a unique environment and is afforded extra protection by way of SEPP 71. Amongst the issues that are required to be considered by the consent authority are the suitability of development to ensure that the type of development is appropriate for the location and protects and improves the natural scenic quality of the surrounding area.

The proposal is not in keeping with the existing character of the area and given its density, is not suitable to this location and will not protect the scenic qualities of the area.

In a recent survey of some 800 residents, business owners and visitors conducted by
Locale Consulting who are preparing a Community Led Strategic Plan for the Bay & Basin area in conjunction with local CCB representatives, 73% of respondents rated Environmental Protection as their highest priority followed by Village Character (56%) as their second highest, highlighting the community’s expectation that the existing village character of St Georges Basin and the other Bay & Basin villages should be maintained. (Copy of the “Bay & Basin Community-Led Strategic Plan” attached)

Social Impacts
We are concerned about the potential for adverse social impacts on the local community. Even though this DA is for 28 dwellings, the developer’s website indicates that up to an additional 100+ multi dwelling houses could be built on the site. That represents a 7.5% increase in the population of St Georges Basin within one small area of the village.

The proposed development as indicated by the applicant’s website will add more than 300 new residents to the village, a significant population increase that is unexpected in a B4 zone and which will place extra pressure on all amenities, services and facilities in the village, especially medical (it already takes more than 2 weeks to see a doctor), education and social services. Existing facilities and services in the village are already stretched with Council, State and Federal Government funding insufficient to meet even current demands.

The sole land use proposed by this development application is multi dwelling housing and, by exploiting the ‘no minimum lot size’ condition of B4 Zoning, it seeks to maximise the total number of dwellings that can be built on the site.

While this approach may make financial sense to the applicant, it gives scant consideration to the context of the site as a key part of the centre of St Georges Basin and fails to deliver a variety of uses require in a B4-Mixed Use Zone that could enhance or improve the village.

The community expectation is that the B4 zoning for the site would secure the location for the expansion of the village centre, providing the additional commercial facilities and essential services needed by current and future residents of St Georges Basin. It was not anticipated that it would be used to artificially increase the residential component of the village with unnecessary medium density dwellings that detract from its existing character and impose extra stress on current infrastructure.

We request that this application be rejected.

The disastrous pollution event that saw tonnes of clay/sediment filled rainwater rush from the Village Grove site into the Basin in January is being investigated by Council. During the event Council officers were informed but had been monitoring and checking the site prior to this event. Council Managers had also attended and their investigations are ongoing. The Forum Committee will continue to seek assistance from Council and the State Govt to work toward stopping further pollution of the St Georges Basin estuary

What’s happening opposite the IGA carpark?
Application Number DA21/1480
You have probably seen the land that has been completely cleared opposite the IGA carpark in St Georges Basin. What you may not know is that a Development Application has been lodged with Shoalhaven City Council to build 28 multi dwelling houses on part of that site.
The developer’s website indicates that (subject to approval) they intend to build this type of medium density housing across the entire site. This density is 2.5 times greater than most of the existing village and is out of character in St Georges Basin.
The site is zoned ‘B4 mixed use’ and should developed in a way that enhances the village centre and provides for additional business activities and essential services that benefit the community.
Once again short-term profit seems to be more important than improving our village. If you want to lodge an objection to this proposed development, you can do so via the Council’s website.
• 23rd June was the closing date for submissions.

.Village Grove 1
Village Grove 2