‘De­ferred’ land deal knocked back

South Western Times - - News - Kate Field­ing

DE­PART­MENT of Plan­ning, Lands and Her­itage has knocked back an of­fer from Bun­bury City Coun­cil to buy a slice of land ear­marked for res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment near Big Swamp.

The coun­cil first ex­pressed its in­ter­est in the Fran­cis Street block in 2015 and started ne­go­ti­a­tions last year to de­ter­mine if the de­part­ment would be in­ter­ested in a de­ferred set­tle­ment ar­range­ment.

Mayor Gary Bren­nan con­firmed the coun­cil wanted to de­velop the land and once it was on-sold, it would pay the Gov­ern­ment back.

But the de­part­ment has knocked back the of­fer, say­ing the land could be of­fered to the open mar­ket with “pro­ceeds re­turned im­me­di­ately”. The 1.8ha block is zoned high den­sity res­i­den­tial and has been val­ued at $1.1 mil­lion.

Con­cept de­signs pre­vi­ously given to the coun­cil as an idea of what was pos­si­ble at the site showed a res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment.

The coun­cil passed a rec­om­men­da­tion on Tues­day night to refuse an of­fer to buy the block for $1.1 mil­lion out­right and en­ter back into ne­go­ti­a­tions.

But Mr Bren­nan told the South Western Times he did not ex­pect the ne­go­ti­a­tions to be a pri­or­ity.

“The ne­go­ti­a­tions may con­tinue, but re­ally we’ve got other land devel­op­ment pri­or­i­ties higher than that one at the mo­ment,” he said.

“So I don’t think the of­fi­cers will be spend­ing a great amount of time on that.”

He said the land had at­tracted the in­ter­est of the coun­cil be­cause of its size and cen­tral lo­ca­tion in Bun­bury.

It was also pre­vi­ously sug­gested that money raised from de­vel­op­ing and sell­ing the prop­erty would be spent on im­prove­ments to Big Swamp.

“We haven’t dis­cussed this at coun­cil, but I’d ex­pect if there’s any net pro­ceeds after re­cov­er­ing the cost of the land and cost of de­vel­op­ing it, then the net pro­ceeds could be used again for the Big Swamp/Wildlife Park area,” he said.

“That’s not been dis­cussed by coun­cil, but that’s the sort of in­ter­est we would have.”

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