MORE than a dozen planning permits have been rejected by Central Highlands Water (CHW) on the grounds of ministerial guidelines introduced in 2012.
Hepburn Shire Council, Pyrenees Shire Council and Ballarat City Council have had 14 planning permits in total rejected by CHW in line with the 2012 Guidelines for Planning Permits in Open Potable Water Supply Catchment Areas.
Ten of the refusals have been within Hepburn.
In line with the guidelines, councils are now required to implement a domestic wastewater management plan before a permit for a septic system is granted, and state that the minimum size of a block is two hectares.
No councils currently have adopted a DWMP, however, Hepburn is expected to adopt a plan in June.
Pyrenees Shire Council Ercildoune ward councillor David Clark called for CHW to work with a merits-based system because many of the properties would have been approved prior to the guidelines.
Mr Clark said he had told four landowners not to apply for a planning permit due to CHW’s strict adherence to the guidelines.
Earlier this week The Courier spoke with an elderly couple who’s planning permit at Waubra Heights had been refused by CHW, despite being approved before the guidelines were introduced.
Mr Clark said the Waubra Heights estate posed an insignificant risk to the Evansford Water Supply Catchment and noted that 42 homes exist on the estate.
“It’s basically a block of land you can’t build on, you might as well put a pony on it,” Mr Clark said.
He said Pyrenees was currently looking into re-zoning the Waubra Heights estate to align the minimum hectare requirement with the block sizes.
“Without a DWMP the Central Highlands Water has the power to knock it back unless it’s on an individual block of 40 hectares,” Mr Clark said.
A CHW spokesperson said no further developments could be made on the Waubra Heights estate until Pyrenees Shire adopted a DWMP.
“The development by council of a DWMP will assist in identifying the requirements for developing in all locations across the shire prior to making permit applications,” the spokesperson said.
“DWMPs will designate from a risk-based approach areas that are deemed to be low to high risk from a development perspective.”