SCEC is jubilant in welcoming the Court of Appeal decision delivered on 9 February 2022 which found in favour of Development Watch Inc in its appeal against the decision of the Planning & Environment Court in June 2020 which upheld Sunshine Coast Council’s contentious approval of Sekisui’s development application.
Read the full ruling with the Reasons & Orders here:
Development Watch Inc v Sunshine Coast Regional Council & Anor  QCA 6
Below is a summary of the Decision prepared by Development Watch Inc.
There were 3 errors of law -
First, no specific finding about the local community’s expectations regarding height was made.
Second, properly made submissions about the development formed part of the common material and, as such, the assessment was required to be carried out having regard to them. A large proportion of the opposing submissions received were in a pro forma style but there were 16 different variations of those. The height of the proposed development was a recurring ground of objection in virtually all the opposing submissions. The Judge overlooked the need to first determine what the expectations of the local community were concerning the height and …. the court was required to take that evidence into account as part of the common material but that did not occur. This was another error of law.
Third, the primary judge had no regard to the version of the planning scheme current at the time of the appeal. Version 18 not only required the height of buildings and structures to be consistent with the reasonable expectations of the local community, it mandated compliance with the specified height limits, that is to say, 8.5 metres.
The judgment below was affected by the three errors of law identified above … they could have materially affected the decision at first instance.