Ben Dawkins’ fight with Harvey Shire and Fiveight over Binningup golf course takes hit after new scheme passed

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
The Binningup golf course has been closed since 2020.
Camera IconThe Binningup golf course has been closed since 2020. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/Harvey-Waroona Reporter

A South West MLC’s fight over a closed golf course has suffered a potentially major blow in the form of a new planning scheme.

Ben Dawkins and other disgruntled Binningup landowners have been at loggerheads with the Shire of Harvey and Andrew Forrest-owned property developer Fiveight over the Lakewood Shores Golf Course, which closed in 2020.

But the fight could soon be over, with council giving the green light to the draft Local Planning Scheme No. 2 on July 25, with only minor amendments being made to the document.

The draft scheme will now go to the Western Australian Planning Commission for the final tick of approval before it is implemented.

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Once in force, it will repeal both the current 1996 district planning scheme and the 1987 Binningup town planning in their entirety.

Mr Dawkins and his supporters have been using clauses in the Binningup town scheme to argue their case against both council and the developer.

The scheme states community open space created within the Lakewood Shores development should be handed over by the developer to a community association for control and maintenance.

However, a previous developer maintained control of the land and offered to gift it to the Shire in 2020 after they stopped managing the course, which was accepted.

Mr Dawkins has disputed the transfer and has called on a community association he and others founded last year to be handed over the land instead.

But Shire planning documents state the 1996 district scheme overrules the Binningup town scheme where there are inconsistencies, and it does not impose any conditions on the developer to hand control of community open space over to a community association.

It also does not require the developer to double the current nine-hole course to 18, which Mr Dawkins has maintained is the case.

Attempts by Mr Dawkins to get Harvey Shire councillors, Planning Minister John Carey and former planning minister Rita Saffioti to refer the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal have all failed.

Since the council vote, Mr Dawkins has attempted to start arbitration against both the Shire and Fiveight before the Binningup planning scheme is revoked.

A spokesperson for the Shire of Harvey said the council has considered Mr Dawkins’ comments as part of its revocation of the Binningup town planning scheme.

“That said, all of the complaints Mr Dawkins has made about (the Binningup scheme) have been addressed before by the Shire,” they said.

“The Shire officers have acted in accordance with the council’s resolutions.

“I would note that Mr Dawkins has already made unsuccessful applications to both the SAT and the Supreme Court with respect to (the scheme). We do not believe that there is any substance to his complaints.”

A Fiveight spokesperson said it had no comment to make at this time.

Mr Dawkins owns property in Binningup, but does not currently reside in the community.

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