New Chum Back On Hold!
Monday, May 4, 2015 at 12:23PM
Bill Barclay

The New Chum saga continues with the announcement on Saturday that the Applicants, Ross & Deidre Mears had asked for a suspension of their application that was due to be heard by three Commissioners starting this morning.

For a bit of recent history go here.

First let it be said that the question of costs for the delay should not be at issue - they will need to be met in full by the Applicants, and they will be substantial. Of course, objectors will be out of pocket if Council failed to establish contact with them over the weekend to let them know the nature of the request, and the fact that the decision on the suspension will have been made this morning - hardly likely to be denied given the circumstances, and the likelihood of it ending up in the Environment and higher Courts regardless of the outcome.

But this is the most interesting part - the reasons for the incredibly late application for suspension provided by Hammond:

“Late Friday afternoon we were notified by the applicant’s lawyers that there’s been a last-minute disagreement from one of the co-owners of the site relating to access arrangements to the beach,” says David Hammond, Thames-Coromandel District Council Chief Executive. “They say the disagreement makes the present proposal one which would now not be given effect to and they see no point in proceeding with Monday’s hearing until the dispute can be resolved.” 

So what does it all mean? In the first place, it appeared from the outset of this second attempt to get approval to sub-divide the block that the Meares were merely acting as a 'stalking horse' for the ultimate developer – John Darby, or latecomer George Kerr, or both!

So there is “disagreement with one of the co-owners of the site relating to access arrangements to the beach.” I am betting the co-owner who is disputing access arrangement to be none other than George Kerr. He is a renowned litigant, and almost always gets his own way, regardless of who is standing in it – access to the beach always appeared a contentious issue being through Lot 5 to the end of the Conservation Lot.

As I indicated in the earlier post, there was no apparent provision for boat launching facilities in the new Mear’s application, and that was a puzzle. And clearly the 40m X 18m boat parking area to the west of the Lot 4 house site was always going to be a concern in regard to the privacy to the owner of that site.

Whatever the case, it is clear that the “disagreement” must be substantial, because to endeavour to call off the hearings at this late stage is a major move that any brief, especially Queen’s Counsel, would have grave difficulty recommending. No, I think something involving George is at play here, but no doubt it will all emerge later today, and if they are successful with their application, new dates set hopefully not too far into the future.

This exciting event that places Thames Coromandel on the national stage every time it comes up will no doubt be played out yet again on Campbell Live - they love this place, and it probably will help again with their ratings, particularly if all the celebrity luvvies can be persuaded to again throw their hats in the ring.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, and the lawyers will be in seventh Heaven.   


Update on Monday, May 4, 2015 at 1:46PM by Registered CommenterBill Barclay

As expected, the Commissioners agreed to the application for suspension of the Hearing. It has been put off for two months, and the Council will need to consider the situation with regard to the amended application - if any!

The whole shebang may need to be re-notified - I bet there is great joy in that regard around the Castle, many having worked all weekend in an endeavour to contact all the submitters - 80 of whom were to speak.

But at least Hammond has made clear that all costs are on the shoulders of the Applicants - that at least is a relief.

How much do you think three Commisioners will charge at having put aside a full week each for the Hearing? How about an average $2,000 a day each - that is around $30,000 for starters, without even thinking about Council costs, and other lawyers and resource planners who may have been involved.  Oh yes, these will surely be expensive lots by the time it is all finished.

"Through their lawyer, the applicants have also apologised to everyone who has been inconvenienced by  the delay, especially the submitters and the Commissioners."  

Well, thank-you!


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