“It’s quite catastrophic”. That is how Reverend Darrell McKeough sees a proposal to build boarding houses and units next to his home on Wingham Road.
He is acting to try to stop Bungalow Homes being given a green light by MidCoast Council to build three villas, two townhouses and two boarding houses at 292 Wingham Road – and he is not alone.
Reverend McKeough’s home is modest and sits on a large block. Neighbours are close but not too close; a morning wave will be seen and a greeting heard if shouted, there is space to live in privacy, to enjoy the sound of birdsong and to sit outside on a warm day to enjoy a cooling breeze. It is a rural setting, it’s been his home for more than 70 years and he now fears his retirement will be spent living next door to more than 30 people - two proposed two-storey boarding houses destroying his privacy and blocking breezes; that birdsong will disappear and be replaced with the persistent noise of neighbours and traffic. He does not want that to be the soundtrack to his day, he does not want a massive development on his doorstep and he is urging MidCoast Council to consider the suitability of the development for the area.
“It will certainly impact on me … and to have this sort of thing happen at this stage, it’s quite catastrophic,” Reverend McKeough said. “It can't help but be quite a big impact because of the two storey buildings and it is taking up the whole of the block.
It will certainly impact on me … and to have this sort of thing happen at this stage, it’s quite catastrophic.Reverend Darrell McKeough
“I was non-plussed when I saw the extent of it because of 30-odd people living on the block next to us, and some of them in boarding houses, it could develop very quickly into something most unpleasant.”
The proposed development is on land that has through access to Wingham and Woola roads. Mark Primmer and Angela Nicholson live on Woola Road and were shocked to learn of the development application, shocked to learn that so few people knew what was proposed and unaware of council’s consultation process.
Angela acted to inform people, rallied residents to make submissions and hopes councillors will listen to their concerns when the application is before council for consideration.
“It’s just going to be a nightmare,” Angela said. “It's high density, it's going to totally change the feel of our area.
“This is a really rural sort of setting, even though it is classed as residential under council zoning, when you come here and have a look, it's nothing like a normal suburban area and this (development) is going to totally destroy that feel.”
It’s just going to be a nightmare.Angela Nicholson.
Angela also contends it will create major parking problems as Woola Road has no kerb and guttering or parking areas.
Norm and Violet Bedford have called Woola Road home for more than 30 years, they believe the development “will totally destroy the quiet rural feel of this corner” and fear the development will negatively impact property values as a “typical buyer looking at this area would not want to live in such close proximity to a large high density development.”
Jennifer Kokany says it is “ludicrous” and challenges council to consider the impact additional cars to the Wingham Road traffic flow.
“We have a major roundabout at the corner of Bushland Drive and Wingham Road. I live in Katheryn Place and if I were to come out of my place in the morning, the traffic is incredibly busy. There is an exit directly opposite Katheryn Place, how is this going to work, where is the safety aspect?”
In its application, Bungalow Homes describes the development as being “targeted to active retirees and to low and moderate income workers, including staff and students of medical facilities such as Mayo Private Hospital which is 1.5km to the north-west of the site.”
MidCoast Council says “concerns raised in the submissions received by council and those expressed to the Manning River Times will be given consideration in the assessment and determination of the application.”
“Council is not in a position to make comment on these concerns until such time as our assessment has been completed.
“There is no intention for council staff or councillors to meet on site with residents. Both council’s development control unit meeting and ordinary meetings of council are open to the public where people are allowed to address the meeting, prior to consideration and determination of any application.”
MidCoast Council is awaiting information from Bungalow Homes and will continue its assessment process after it is received.