Freestone Road development impacts residents

Freestone Road residents are unhappy with a planned short-term accommodation development.

By Emily-Rose Toohey

A short-term accommodation development approved in December 2021 on Freestone Road has impacted surrounding residents.

Eight units and ten cabins are being built and according to a council spokesperson, the short-term accommodation is designed for tourists or travellers to stay for a temporary period of time.

Freestone Road residents Bryan Wright, Melanie Gibbons, and Jim Rickard have voiced concerns about the development’s impact on the environment, the residential area, and their properties.

Bryan only moved into his house last August and said he recently renovated it.

“When I finished doing up the property, I got my real estate guy to evaluate it, but the property’s value has gone down about $50, 000 since, because of the development,” he said.

“The cabins are going to be right on my back door and the driveway being built will come in right next to my bedroom window.”

Aside from the direct impact to his property, Bryan said he decided to relocate to Warwick due to its country locality, and the accommodation will impact this.

“I’m going through bowel cancer at the moment and I really don’t need any more stress,” he said.

“Council just doesn’t care.”

Bryan has decided to sell his house as a result.

Furthermore, Melanie lives across the road from the accommodation site and said the residents have environmental concerns.

“The fact that it’s becoming almost a commercial road instead of residential, I feel like the accommodation’s going to change everything,” she said.

Bryan echoed this sentiment and said that numerous trees will be knocked down for the development.

“I know for a fact possums live in those trees, we have echidnas, and we’ve seen koalas,” he said.

“It’s going to be a wasteland with cabins on it – do council care about the environment and people?”

Similarly, Jim said they are concerned about the noise pollution of both the construction and potential people staying at the accommodation after its completion.

“It’s going to be made available to a lot of younger people so consequently there’ll be a lot of drinking and partying,” Jim said.

“But the thing that really annoyed us most is we weren’t told by council – they needed to be upfront.”

However, a council spokesperson said that the Freestone Road development is within the Specialised Centre zone.

“Within this zone, short-term accommodation is code assessable under the Southern Downs Planning Scheme, meaning that no public notification was required to be undertaken,” the spokesperson said.

After the group had a meeting with relevant council staff and Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) CEO Dave Burges last month, Melanie said there was nothing the impacted residents could do.

“It wasn’t pretty and the development is a done deal,” she said.

When asked if council would assist impacted residents knowing they were unhappy with the development, council did not respond.