Camden Council has approved a fence that was illegally erected of concrete slabs, leaving the neighbours questioning what message council was sending to the community.
The Sydney Tongan Seventh Day Adventist Church in Leppington erected the three-metre high fence earlier this year in contravention of its development approval for a noise barrier that council specified be constructed half of masonry and topped with timber.
After constructing the fence using concrete barriers from a motorway, the church then lodged a modification application to change the material of the barrier.
A report to the council at its meeting on May 12 said the concrete panels — which have graffiti, cracks, holes and gaps — were ‘‘visually unacceptable’’ but would be painted to blend in with the environment.
The Sajn family next door said they were shocked council approved the ‘‘ugly’’ concrete wall.
Danica Sajn said she would seek legal advice for her parents, adding that the church had a history of non compliance (see end of story) and was being rewarded for doing the wrong thing.
‘‘It flies in the face of common sense and we are really disappointed at the way council has treated us,’’ she said.
Councillor Eva Campbell — the only one to vote against approving the concrete fence — described it as ‘‘the Berlin Wall partially demolished’’.
‘‘The lesson in this is you can disregard the conditions of consent, do what you like, and once you’ve done that lodge a modification application and council will approve it,’’ Cr Campbell said after the meeting.
The church will need an engineer to certify the barriers are structurally stable before the council would issue an occupation certificate for the use of the church.
Sydney Tongan Seventh Day Adventist Church's history of non compliance:
December 2014: Camden Council issues a notice of proposed order to the applicant to cease using the hall as a place of worship and comply with the conditions of consent.
January 2015: Council issues an order to cease using the premises and comply with the conditions of consent.
January 2015: The church requests permission to use the hall. Council again advises use of the hall is not permitted.