A REPORT is being prepared for Busselton City Council on the “phantom” privately-owned 2.97ha block on the Quindalup foreshore.
The 1000sqm site, which has trebled in size because it is to the high water mark, and the beach has increased significantly since it was acquired more than 40 years ago, has only recently come on the radar.
Neither the city nor the owners are saying how the block lay dormant for so long and why it lay undetected for so long.
The consultant for the owners, Michael Swift, a former shire CEO, said rates had been paid on the block, but the Mail understands it is only from the 2008-09 financial year when the block came to light.
The owners, Commercial Estates, have put in a development application to build a house on the site – but Mr Swift has indicated they are prepared to sell the land to the city.
While it has been speculated that the land could be worth a conservative $11 million, the Mail understands that if a landowner is entitled to compensation then the amount would depend on the highest and best use the land could have been put to under the city’s Town Planning Scheme – that is what could have been done with the land under the scheme if it was not reserved.
The city has been obtaining information from Landgate and other government agencies in relation to the lot and in particular the current development application regarding the site.
The director of finance and corporate services Matthew Smith said the city had sent officers to Perth for meetings on the matter.
“At this stage the main focus of our efforts in relation to Lot 480 is the assessment of the development application,” he said.
“The city has a legal responsibility to ensure a proper assessment of the application in accordance with all relevant factors under the Town Planning Scheme. A report should be finalised and put to council in the next few weeks.
“It would not be appropriate for me to go into other matters relating to Lot 480 until after the application has been assessed, other than noting that we are talking about processes and issues which are not all under the control of the city and which in some cases date back more than 40 years.”
A title search by the Mail has revealed that the block was part of a farm owned by former top jockey and trainer and Colin Tulloh and local identity Jack Patton, who both have streets named after them in the precinct. They sold it to Commercial Estates in 1970.