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Developer still keen

Many local residents remain concerned by plans to develop the car park in Rankine St, Crescent Head. Photo: Todd Connaughton A HOTEL could still be developed on the site of the Rankine St car park at Crescent Head, with developers showing interest in the site despite widespread community opposition.

The matter has been ongoing since 2013 when Kempsey Shire Council first sought expressions of interest (EOI) relating to the possible sale of the carpark.

Only one EOI was received and in September 2014 a public meeting was held to discuss the EOI which included a concept proposal for a 2/3-storey building comprising of a 26-room boutique hotel opposite the Crescent Head Country Club.

The main concerns raised at the meeting were the provision of car parking and additional retail space which may impact on existing businesses.

Council staff were advised at the meeting that a petition had been circulated with 750 signatures opposing any development.

CHRRA car park sub-committee representative Ben Latta said those at the meeting were almost unanimous in their opposition to the development.

“There really wasn’t anyone who was for it,” he said.

“Some people were prepared to wait to see more detail but generally the opposition to this development was pretty strong.”

On October 30, 2014, the proponent was advised of council’s interest in continuing negotiations, contingent upon a number of matters being adequately addressed including carparking offsets, demonstrated need of retail component, timing and financial capacity and an undertaking to consult with the Crescent Head community throughout the process.

At a council meeting in December 2014 in front of a packed public gallery, many residents including the Crescent Head Country Club voiced their opposition.

“Crescent Head Country Club is calling on the Kempsey Shire Council to say no to the sale of the Crescent Head community car park to developers,” Crescent Head Country Club secretary-manager Colan Ryan said at the time.

“The club believes the Crescent Head community are the true custodians of the car park and any move by the council to sell off the land should not be allowed.”

In today’s council meeting, councillors will hear an update on the development. Despite limited contact with the developers in the past 12 months, it is understood they remain interested in the site.

“On February 3, 2016, the proponent’s representative advised that the proponent remains strongly interested in the site and is continuing to liaise with investors and architect, and appreciates council’s patience,” council’s agenda states.

“The proponent’s representative requests that council agree to receive a detailed proposal addressing the matters raised by council by 30 June 2016.”

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