WRAP media release - 6 September 2020
Council paves way for anticipated growth in Westbury
The Meander Valley Council will this Tuesday move to amend its planning scheme to rezone significant parts of Westbury to allow for 200 additional residential building lots in the town. With a population of approximately 2,000 people, this represents a substantial increase in residential building lots for the township.
The Council has considered "supply relative to demand" in Westbury and has concluded that "...there is an insufficient supply of land to accommodate future urban residential growth at Westbury" (p. 248 of the agenda for the September Meander Valley Council meeting). The Council has based its analysis on recent sales of lots in a small 10 lot subdivision on William Street, Westbury in the context of the $45,000 Government building stimulus package.
The Agenda for the meeting goes on to say that "analysis has identified" 15 hectares to the North and 3.8 hectares to the South of the Meander Valley Road to be suitable for rezoning to allow for 200 additional building lots.
The 15 hectares to the North of Meander Valley Road was in fact identified by the owner of the land, Mr Dale Badcock in December 2018 when he applied for rezoning, shortly after expressions of interest for the Northern Regional Prison were closed in November 2018. Mr Badcock's wife (Andrea Koopman-Badcock) has been a strident supporter of the prison for some time on the Facebook page "Northern Regional Prison Information Site".
"It is unclear why the Council is taking this step so close to its new planning scheme coming into effect which is close to being finalised by the Tasmanian Planning Commission. Why is it taking this 11th hour step which doubles up on what has already been out for consultation?" said the President of WRAP, Linda Poulton.
"Nobody in Westbury knows that this amendment is in the works. This adds an additional stench to the Government's fixation on Westbury. Our Council and the Government seem to be in lockstep, and yet again our town is completely in the dark," said Ms Poulton.
The State Government's own report, commissioned by SGS Economics to analyse the benefits the prison would bring to Westbury, stated that "...population growth [for the Westbury region] over the past 10 years has been marginal with an annual growth rate of plus 0.1 percent which is low compared to the rate of population growth in the Northern Region of Tasmania (0.6%)." [p.2 SGS Economics Report].
"Why is there now a gold rush on property in Westbury?" asked Ms Poulton.
President, WRAP Inc