Peppermint Grove neighbours in legal stoush over elderly parent’s acccomodation

Stock image.
Stock image.

SUPREME Court action has been threatened as a dispute between Peppermint Grove neighbours over alterations to a house boiled over at a council meeting on Tuesday.

The Esplanade resident Barbara Jones has asked the council to give retrospective planning approval to changes that she made to a previously approved redevelopment of ancillary accommodation at the back of her house.

The alleged alterations she made to the original plans, which were approved in 2015, include relocating a laundry, its door, a study, bedroom, ensuite and internal stairs.

The Shire of Peppermint Grove previously sent a notice directing Ms Jones to alter the changes to the 120sq m ancillary building, after they were discovered to have been completed.

She took the notice to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), where it now waits for mediation, but did alter an upper floor privacy screen complained about by neighbours Anthony and Alison Wooles.

But at the council meeting on Tuesday, October 23, the Wooles’ lawyer Paul McQueen said legal action could begin over the issue.

“We are instructed to start proceedings immediately in the Supreme Court for a judicial review of any procedural errors by the council,” he said.

At the heart of the issue is the claim that the changes to the ancillary dwelling make it a multiple dwelling, which is not allowed in the council’s zoning of the block under Local Planning Scheme No 4.

Mr McQueen said because of the alleged breach of the scheme, councillors could not use their power of discretion for retrospective approval of the altered design.

A staff report said the plans in the application for retrospective approval could still be taken to SAT if they were not given the nod.

Ms Jones’ lawyer, Chelsea Quirk, said the changes were minor and her client did not think they needed council approval.

She said council did not have the power to “police” how any room was used and residents’ movements between rooms in the property.

Councillors went behind closed doors before deferring a decision so they could get advice on all the claims.