Puma2Go campaigners were in party mode on Monday, celebrating the WA Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold an appeal against a proposed 24-hour Puma petrol station on Dunn Bay Road in Dunsborough.
The issue will go back to a new State Administrative Tribunal panel to reexamine the issue, should the developers decide to proceed.
In a three-year battle, Dunsborough residents and the City of Busselton have fought to stop developers building a new petrol station on one of the last remaining vacant blocks in the town centre.
If the development went ahead it would be the third petrol station on Dunn Bay Road within 300 metres of each other.
The community have strongly opposed the project when developers bypassed town planning laws by calling the petrol station a convenience store to seek approval for the application.
The Joint Development Assessment Panel knocked back the development application, which saw the developers lodge an appeal with the State Administrative Tribunal, the developers won.
JDAP then lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court against the landowners in September last year, which ended in favour of the landowners.
JDAP then took the case to the Court of Appeal last month, which decided that an earlier Supreme Court decision to allow the petrol station was wrong.
It is now up to the developers to decide if they want to pursue the issue with the State Administrative Tribunal again, or they could possibly appeal the decision to the High Court.
Puma2Go spokesperson Tony Sharp said any such application would now have to be heard under new planning regulations, which put up much higher hurdles to any such development hiding behind a so-called convenience store loophole.
"We are awed and delighted with the huge groundswell of community support which has kept this fight alive,” he said.
Mr Sharp said Puma2Go was calling on the developers, DCSC Pty Ltd, to recognise the strong community feeling against this development and stop wasting taxpayers money on dragging out this fight.
“Specifically the group is calling on lead directors to work with the community in finding a better use for the land, one of the last vacant blocks in the centre of Dunsborough,” he said.
A DCSC Pty Ltd spokesperson said they were surprised and concerned by the outcome, given three prior decisions had ruled in favour of the development application.
The spokesperson said the major concern was that changes to planning could be taking place without the knowledge of the landowner, the JDAP and State Administrative Tribunal, after everyone had their say at a final hearing.
“This substantially increases the risk for all landowners because they cannot even go to the SAT confident that their time and investment in resolving disputes would be put to good use,” the spokesperson said.
“The board of DCSC Pty Ltd will now consider the decision.”