TAMWORTH councillors have voted against making a submission to the consent authority that will decide the fate of one of Tamworth’s most historic sporting grounds.
The development application (DA) seeking to demolish Scully Park No. 1 Oval and turn it into a 53-room motel and function centre is scheduled for determination by the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) on May 21 or 22.
Despite their apparent support for the proposal, Tamworth Regional councillors decided to refrain from formally weighing in.
“As a council we are a bit hamstrung because we are not the consent authority,” Cr Mark Rodda said.
“We are really unable to say ‘no we can’t proceed with this’ ... it is certainly out of our hands.”
The contentious application garnered 44 submissions while on public exhibition, raising a number of concerns about the development, including the loss of Tamworth’s rugby league heritage, social, economic, traffic and infrastructure impacts as well as the loss of green space. Eight were received in support.
Many of the councillors who remained in the chamber when the recommendation was discussed voiced their backing for the proposed DA.
Cr Russell Webb described the application as “a real positive” for Tamworth.
“It is a development that will enhance our town and it provides one of the things we don’t have now which is a conference centre that can seat up to 300 or 400 people,” he said.
Cr Helen Tickle pointed to the value of the conference industry for the community, saying it “cannot be underestimated”.
“Delegates to country areas and in particular regional centres, it is estimated that their minimum spend is $500 per day,” Cr Tickle said.
“Often a delegate will bring a guest that enjoys shopping and Peel St businesses benefit ... and then there’s meals and fuel.”
The JRPP is the consent authority as the capital investment value exceeds $5 million.