Ex-councillor sues and wins

FORMER Northern Midlands deputy mayor Don McShane said he never wanted to take his old council to court, but had no choice after it blocked a subdivision of his land.

The rejection came despite the subdivision being recommended by council officers and supported by a range of other bodies.

Last month, Mr McShane won a Supreme Court case, and the council was ordered to finalise approval of the subdivision and pay costs of up to $40,000.

Now Mr McShane is calling for a better planning system.

Mr McShane sought approval to subdivide his land at Perth into 33 lots in November 2009.

The council approved the application on the condition that blocks 7 to 12 be shown as a single lot until Ben Lomond Water could supply water to them.

Mr McShane lodged another planning application early this year to seal the final plan for lots 7 to 10, after spending about $150,000 developing those lots.

The new application was supported by council planners, Ben Lomond Water, the Tasmanian Fire Service and the council's lawyer.

However, the council refused the application in a closed meeting in March.

An earlier application in November 2011 had also been rejected, even though it had similar support.

In October, Justice Peter Evans quashed the council's decision, saying it was unreasonable and it took into account irrelevant considerations.

``I'm very sad that I've had to do this to my own council that I was part of for 17 years and deputy mayor for some of that time just to get justice,'' Mr McShane said.

He called for a better planning system.

``I should have been able to go to Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal and they should have been able to give a ruling _ that's what I wanted,'' he said.

``There should be a simple way of going to an appeal without all this cost, hassle and frustration.''

Mr McShane said he wanted to see planning matters go to an independent panel of qualified people, so this did not happen again.

He said the panel should include council planning staff to give local input.

Mayor Kim Polley disapproved of the creation of an independent panel as it ``would no doubt take longer and become more expensive''.

Cr Polley would not comment further on the issue, other than case facts.

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