Development applications often attract controversy.
That can be for the simple reason that the neighbours don’t want a double-storey house overlooking their backyard.
Sometimes it is due to concerns about what is going to happen on the site.
As an example, an application for an expanded doctor’s surgery could raise concerns about more traffic movement in the area.
And then there are cases that appear to be more open and shut.
These are matters where it would seem to be blindingly obvious to all concerned that a development goes against the very fabric of a decent, law-abiding community.
Due process has to be followed, including allowing for objections, ensuring council officers have prepared a thorough report. And then there has to be a proper debate to make sure the decision reached is a credible one that can be justified to the wider community.
On those counts it would appear to most that Albury Council has got it wrong when it comes to granting approval for a bikiegang clubhouse.
It has been said in these columns before that the community does not want or need such a “function centre”.
Just last year theclub house was shut down by police, with several men charged and then dealt with in Albury Local Court.
That is all in a climate wherethere has been state andfederal crackdowns on such gangs, identified by the Australian CriminalIntelligence Commissionas “one of the mosthigh-profile manifestationsof organised crime”. The council though defended its move by saying it could determine the application on planning grounds only, devoid of the clear history involved with the Black Uhlans.
And defenders of the gang have said they are simply a bunch of blokes who like to get together and socialise.That is simply a feeble cover-up of a history of what Cr Murray King describes as “bad activity”.
Cr King’s view is not out of left field –it is a logical appraisal of the situation, especially given the detailed opposition presented by NSW Police.
And given the concessions also made on parking at the site, the council has certainly made the wrong call.
It could indeed end up being quite a bad look for the council if illegal activities take place at the clubhouse in the future.
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