Residents opposed to the establishment of a medical centre in a new Medowie housing estate have praised the Port Stephens councillors that listened to their pleas and knocked back the development application despite the risk of the matter being taken to the Land and Environment Court.
The DA to reclassify an established house inside The Bower estate as a health facility and to add a car park was defeated 5-3 at the February 26 council meeting with councillors listening to residents' strong objections and submissions against the centre instead of approving it as recommended.
"We cannot understand what compelling reason there is to justify the establishment of a business of this size in this location, which is so incompatible with and detrimental to the lifestyle and expectations of its neighbours," Callan Chambers said. "If prior to purchasing we knew of this possibility we would never had bought the block."
Mr Chambers and Matt McCabe, whose homes are being built directly next to the proposed medical centre, spoke at the council meeting and outlined the concerns many residents from the estate had about the application which centred on security, privacy, traffic, noise, pedestrian issues.
The DA for the proposed Boundary Road medical centre, submitted by Glenn Brummit, includes stage one plans for alterations and additions to existing house and stage two works to extend the front, sides and rear of the building.
It is envisioned the centre would have five consult rooms, a two bed nurse treatment station, minor operations room, on site pathology, two stationed reception and administration/practice manager offices, separate staff toilets and staff room with kitchenette and would, in the beginning, employ three full-time General Practitioners and five additional staff.
Following councillor's refusal to approve the DA, Mr Brummit told the Examiner he would be appealing the decision in the Land and Environment Court.
He said he felt "absolute disgust at the extremely poor levels of representation displayed" by councillors at the February 26 meeting.
"Council undertook an extensive assessment, looking at all aspects - noise, traffic, car parking - and were happy with the proposal, answering all concerns and recommending approval," he said. "Then the councillors got involved."
Councillor Chris Doohan, who voted against the DA, said he was confident Port Stephens Council would win in court.
"I'm fighting for what's right in my community," he said. "This type of development is not right for a residential estate. We've spent years developing planning guidelines for Medowie. This type of haphazard development goes against that."
Mr McCabe and wife Jess said Medowie may need a new medical centre but the one proposed for The Bower was not suitable for an estate filled with family homes.