Tasmanian Planning Commission knocks back Tempus retirement village

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In a stunning setback for developers, the proposed Tempus village at Swansea, on Tasmania’s east coast, has been rejected by the state’s Planning Commission.

The 18-hectare village, which would comprise 140 independent living and 30 assisted living units, as well as 44 nursing home suites including a dementia ward, was refused by the three-member Commission despite the unanimous approval of the local Glamorgan Spring Bay Council.

In its decision, the Commission found that the proposal “is not, as far as practicable, consistent with the regional strategy’s policies for productive resources or settlement and residential development”, and was not prepared in accordance with state policies on coastal and agricultural land.

According to Tempus, the decision was based on technical breaches of planning legislation, “which the TPC agreed in some cases needed to be reviewed, or were inadequate”, and the impact on one neighbouring property.

Les Walden, managing director of Tempus Village, said in a statement that the Commission had ignored both Council advice and independent experts in its decision.

“The majority of the community wanted this project to happen and we have a database of people from the area and beyond who were looking forward to living in this rural retirement concept who will be absolutely devastated, as we are.

“We don’t believe there was an open mind to this vision of rural retirement and nursing home that we were presenting,” he said, adding that Tempus has asked Planning Minister Roger Jaensch to review the decision.

The project has been in the planning stage since 2018.

Architect John Lewis and financier Les Walden were integral in The Arbour, at Berry, on the coast 140 km south of Sydney. It was the winner of the Innovation & Excellence Awards ‘Best Retirement Living Development’ in Australia in 2014.

Lewis was the architect and Walden had partnered with John Leo and Adam Somerville in The Arbour.

For Tempus, the fifth generation Cotton family of pinot noir vineyards Kelvedon Estate fame has joined the vision and support with the land.