By Jeremy Sollars
A court appeal against council approval of a free range poultry farm at Freestone has been dropped after objecting neighbours bought the property involved.
The Free Times can reveal that Matt and Belinda Walker – neighbours of Mark and Rebecca Kinsella, who gained approval for the poultry farm earlier this year on their Jack Smith Gully Road property – have purchased the land owned by the Kinsellas to prevent the project from going ahead.
The move means the Southern Downs Regional Council is facing one less legal battle over recent planning decisions relating to farming industries.
At their August meeting, councillors refused an application by Allora’s Layton and Sharalyn Free to develop a feedlot on Warfields Road, on the basis that its impacts would be incompatible with the surrounding area.
At the same meeting, councillors voted in favour of the free range poultry farm on Jack Smith Gully Road despite a raft of objections from surrounding property owners.
Both decisions then became the subject of court appeals against the council’s decisions, with Layton and Sharalyn Free appealing against the council’s refusal of their proposed feedlot, and neighbours of the Kinsellas at Freestone – including the Walkers – appealing against the approval of the poultry farm.
Coincidentally, both appeals were lodged with the Planning and Environment Court of Queensland on 20 September, and both were represented by Brisbane legal firm QuDA.
The Walkers and other Freestone residents who objected to the Kinsella poultry farm told the Free Times at the time their objections included concerns about the impact of noise, odour and dust from up to 3000 laying hens approved for the Kinsella property.
Mark and Rebecca Kinsella told the Free Times in September they would fight any appeal from their neighbours “all the way”.
The council normally seeks to resolve planning appeals through negotiation, to avoid a full-blown hearing in the Planning and Environment Court of Queensland.
Layton Free this week declined to comment on the status of the appeal against his proposed feedlot, but court documents show nearly 30 objectors have signed on to be co-respondents with the Southern Downs Regional council in support of its refusal, including the Toowoomba Regional Council, as the Warfields Road property is close to the council boundary.