BASS Coast Council has rejected an application for a 208-site caravan park at Newhaven.
The eight-hectare site, which is zoned for farming, backs on to the Forrest Caves beach reserve and is opposite the new Scenic estate Reserve.
The application drew 38 objections, most based on environmental impacts of the development on the neighbouring reserves, safety concerns about holiday makers accessing a dangerous and unpatrolled surf beach and traffic concerns related to access from Phillip Island Road.
There was one submission in support of the proposal, which stated that it would add to the local and regional economy, providing family-friendly accommodation in an area that is lacking such a facility.
A report from council officers stated that the Bass Coast Planning Scheme recognised the importance of tourism to the local economy and encouraged a diverse range of accommodation options on the coast, but the proposal did not accord with other relevant provisions.
“Planning must … ensure that such development is well sited with respect to surrounding services and natural attractions, is of an appropriate scale, use and intensity relative to its location, and minimises impacts on the surrounding natural visual, environmental and coastal character.
“It is recommended that Council resolve to refuse [this] planning application on the basis that the proposed camping and caravan park facility has no direct relationship with any agricultural activities conducted on the subject land or adjoining land and will impact on a landscape identified for its non-urban role providing a rural break between coastal settlements.”
Councillors acknowledged that the applicant had reduced the density of the original application and attempted to meet community concerns.
We often hear the phrase ‘Not in my back yard’,” Cr Bruce Kent said. “But in this case I believe the community has genuine reasons for concern.”