Dunford v Gosford City Council
Jurisdiction: Land and Environment Court
Side A: Esther Dunford (Individual)
Side B: Gosford City Council (Government)
Plaintiff challenged building permit on coastal erosion grounds.
In hearings held from December 9 to December 11, 2014, Esther Dunford appealed the refusal by Gosford City Council for the demolition of an existing dwelling and the construction of a new dwelling in Wamberal. The Council denied the application because the new construction would not properly avoid the potential risk of coastal erosion and therefore is against public interest. The court considered whether coastal hazard processes would result in unacceptable property damage and loss, and that the risk to development along the cost was projected to rise due to projected sea level rises.
In a decision issued on January 14, 2015, the appeal was upheld. The Commissioner found that coastal hazards were appropriately taken into consideration in the proposed development. There was disagreement over whether there would be a need for a revetment wall. The Commissioner agreed with the applicant’s expert that one was not per se required to sufficiently minimize the potential risk from coastal erosion. The Commissioner also found that there was no basis to say that there would be a view loss to existing neighboring residences.