House plan washed away

AN application to build a new cottage in Leyburn has been knocked back by council, solidifying tough new restrictions on developing properties in flood-prone areas.

The development proposal for a second house on the 5.3 hectare Tummaville Rd property was not accepted due to council concerns about future flooding.

Under the new planning scheme which commenced August 14 last year, new dwellings are not to be located within the Flood Hazard overlay.

Southern Downs regional councillor Neil Meiklejohn said the planning scheme incorporates new State Government requirements of managing the impacts of a disaster such as a fire or flood.

"A disaster can be devastating," Cr Meiklejohn said.

"Now knowing that the flooding can happen, it would be irresponsible of the government to allow the risk to continue if we can avoid it in the first place."

Cr Meiklejohn said the council reflected the guiding principles of the state policy within the planning scheme, and is working with the community and existing houses in flood zones to incorporate disaster action plans.

In the case of the Leyburn property, there was a potential for personal safety being affected.

The application proposed the future cottage to be built on one metre-high steel columns in order to try and combat any flooding.

However, the council rejected the development due to there being no access available to land during a flood event.

"The flood plain is very wide, there is no point in someone building a house in front of the river," Cr Meiklejohn said.

"Council is looking to take care of the personal safety of people and the safety of their property as well."

"Life is ultimately what we are talking about."

With three major flood events in three years, this issue is something that has quite an effect of those living in low level areas who want to develop any buildings.

"It's been relatively short period of time but we have more technology, and we are using what we have leant in the flood study," Cr Meiklejohn said.

"People used to use jargon like it would flood 'once in a hundred years'.

"There is going to be flood events close to high levels more often than one hundred years and we just need to expect it and plan appropriately - that way we can manage, plan and mitigate against any impact on property."

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