The Master Builders Association’s Rory McDonald is asking the council to work with the industry on shed laws.
The Master Builders Association’s Rory McDonald is asking the council to work with the industry on shed laws.

Shed shemozzle not OK for business

SHED builders and suppliers are angry and confused over the council’s town planners refusing them permits to build sheds on vacant Maryborough and Woocoo blocks.

“On the one hand council bosses tell us the regulations for sheds in the old four council divisions still apply but when we ask for permits to build in Maryborough and Woocoo we’re told they’ve adopted a blanket ruling,” Stuart Hay of The Shed Company said.

“They’re saying no sheds anywhere anymore on vacant land unless an application to build a house comes in with the shed application.

“They tell us the old shire town planning rules don’t apply anymore but they do.”

Private certifier Shane Macklin from Atlas Certification said public and industry dissatisfaction was growing because of how the council town planning staff was dealing with shed applications.

“It’s becoming very complicated.”

The unofficial blanket rule has been in operation since August however the Chronicle understands there is an interim measure under discussion within the council because of the public backlash on the town planners’ blanket rule.

Some councillors are concerned the new town plan could take up to 18 months to bring in and meanwhile shed businesses will suffer or even go under.

The Chronicle was unable to get a response from the council, with officers away for the holidays.

“We totally accept that Hervey Bay and Tiaro shed rules where you can’t build a shed unless you build a house are already in force and of course they apply,” a leading Coast builder said.

“But many of our shed suppliers run businesses based on rural properties and that means much of Maryborough and Woocoo.

“The rules that allow sheds to go up in those areas on vacant land still apply, yet town planners in council are saying no to those areas too.

“The bureaucrats are making decisions on their own even before the council has adopted its new town plan.

“We know of people who have decided not to move into the region because of this rule. They don’t intend to build a house for a year, say, but they need a shed to store their slasher, ride-on and so on for security reasons, often while they’re trying to sell their house say on the Gold Coast.”

Mr Hay said the tactics were “bullying”.

“It’s like they’re flexing their muscles,” he said.

“We accept each area within the shire has its own character and that council wants to retain that. It helps keep land values steady but this is way over the top.”

Mr Hay said the industry fully agreed with the council that it was not on for people to live illegally in their sheds but perhaps the revenue raised by the council could be invested more in policing this problem rather than adopting the blanket approach to shed building.

“We do not condone illegal construction of any kind,” Rory McDonald, Master Builders regional manager, said.

“But we implore the council to work more closely with industry to expedite a solution to this growing problem as it will continue to expand if ignored.

“Rejecting the shed applications is not the answer with a suspected 25-plus structures being built illegally in recent times.”



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