THE proposed retirement village at Oakville’s Avina Van Caravan Park has been refused by the Sydney West Joint Regional Planning Panel after an October 11 hearing.
The company behind the proposal, Ingenia, is planning its next step, while many Oakville residents are celebrating for the time being.
A Department of Planning and Environment spokesperson said the DA was simply not in keeping of the character of the area, nor was it allowable in the RU4 zone.
“The site is zoned RU4 to maintain rural character and encourage small lot primary production. The DA did not meet these objectives,” the spokesperson said.
“The panel deemed the proposed 247 portable dwellings on the site to be excessive and inconsistent with the existing rural setting, as well as diminishing the amenity for the adjoining properties.
“The panel also found that there was potential for conflict between existing and future primary producers and the residents of the proposed development.”
The Avina Van caravan park was purchased last year by Ingenia, a company which creates and maintains retirement villages as well as running holiday parks, among other ventures.
The company planned to build about 250 retirement homes, which it said would be affordable, at the caravan park and in surrounding land it had purchased in Oakville.
A number of Oakville residents were alarmed by the proposal, and banded together to oppose it, calling themselves the Friends of Oakville.
They were of the opinion the development was a threat to their rural way of life, and on the surface, it seems the Joint Regional Planning Panel agreed with them.
One of the Friends, Peter Norris, said the group was pleased with the outcome but was wary of what might come next.
“I think we've won a battle but haven't won the war,” he said.
“Everyone is happy but we have a long way to go.”
Ingenia issued a statement, where chief executive officer Simon Owen said the company was contemplating its next move.
Liberal councillor and Oakville resident Nathan Zamprogno was scathing of the proposed development and said he was pleased it was refused.
“The proposed development at the Avina site was never an appropriate one,” he said.
“It was a high density 247-lot subdivision by stealth. It was drastically out of step with the character of the area, and I wonder how Ingenia ever thought that they would be able to get it through.
“It was not in keeping with the rural amenity of the area, and the impacts on near neighbours were too high.”