Anthony Cougle has not given up on his plans for a major development at Moonee Beach. Photo by Rachel Vercoe
Anthony Cougle has not given up on his plans for a major development at Moonee Beach. Photo by Rachel Vercoe

Determined to press on with major subdivision

Developer Anthony Cougle says Council's decision to refuse his plans for a Mooneee subdivision defies logic.

"Why - when professional staff recommend something for approval with absolute due diligence and robust assessment - is it knocked back?" Mr Cougle said.

"I don't understand the logic - it fails me."

With Councillors tied four/four, Mayor Denise Knight used her casting vote to refuse the development.

"It's been refused based on the Mayor's casting vote - it's not right having eight Councillors like this. I think they should elect another."

The proposal is for 29 self-contained dwellings specifically designed for seniors and six separate dwellings plus one exhibition home.

To complicate the matter the 29-lot seniors' subdivision has prior approval, but when an adjoining lot became available Cougle Investments secured this through auction and added to their plans.

"Those first 29 lots went through no problem through delegated authority."

At the recent Council meeting Sally Townley argued that Anchorage Close is not suitable to handle such a development.

"The site lends itself to higher density living... but the one thing that does not meet the criteria is that the whole development is predicated on this access to Anchorage Close.

"When you've got cars parked on either side of the road you can barely walk between them," Cr Sally Townley said.

 

Councillor Sally Townley took these photos along Achorage Close when visiting the site prior to the Coffs Harbour City Council meeting. She believes the street is too narrow to support the development.
Councillor Sally Townley took these photos along Achorage Close when visiting the site prior to the Coffs Harbour City Council meeting. She believes the street is too narrow to support the development.

Mr Cougle rejects the assertion that Anchorage Close cannot handle the influx.

He has requested a review of Council's decision and says he won't be changing anything.

"We are putting it up for review and focusing on Anchorage Close. Our engineers are working on it now and we're going to make it simple: Anchorage Close is 5.7 metres wide; it can carry 300 movements a day; and we are currently at 56 per cent capacity and that's with the current houses along Anchorage Close."

When the matter was up for discussion in December Councillors voted to defer a decision in order to carry out further investigations into access and other traffic concerns; and to conduct an on-site inspection.

Mr Cougle says a malicious campaign from nearby neighbours saw them park several cars on either side of the road.

"I spent about five grand looking at difference access options and when Councillors came out residents parked cars in the street and made it look like Anchorage Close was not wide enough."

After the recent Council meeting Mr Cougle claims one of those opposed to his development told him to 'piss off back to Byron Bay'. Anthony and his brothers Danny and Dean, and now a third generation, are carrying on the company Cougle Investments established by Anthony's father who passed away two years ago.

 

The proposed subdivision is within easy walking distance of the Moonee Marketplace.
The proposed subdivision is within easy walking distance of the Moonee Marketplace.

"We've developed most things on the Northern Beaches of any merit.

"I live in Byron Bay now but I grew up in Coffs. We're not flashy out of towners, we never have been. We've been here for 50 years and to be told to piss off back to Byron is so rude."

With the provision of more seniors' housing a priority for planners across the State Mr Cougle says this development is just what Moonee Beach needs.

"When my father got ill and Mum had him at home she couldn't shower him as she just couldn't get him over that strip and into the shower.

"All of our units will be designed to standard for disabled and aged housing so people can age in place instead of having to leave the area.

"Where do they expect us to put our elderly people ? Out in the boondocks because we don't want them in our backyard?

"It defies logic. I believe when this goes back up it will get approved."