Property Stoush Over ‘$100m’ Proposed WestConnex Site Continues


Residential property developer Desane has successfully extended its court-imposed injunction on the NSW government, preventing it from compulsorily acquiring a large inner-city tract of land for the construction of WestConnex infrastructure until a Supreme Court judgment is made.

Desane has been battling with the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) over the compulsory acquisition of the company’s flagship property at 68-72 Lilyfield Road in Rozelle since August 2017.

The government originally offered the ASX-listed property group $18.4 million for the site, which the government said represented current market value.

The dispute commenced when the Desane refused the offer and organised their own valuation, which returned a figure of more than $100 million based on the site’s development potential.

A nine-day Supreme Court trial, presided over by Justice Hammerschlag, concluded on Thursday 8 March.

Desane chairman Professor John Sheehan said the company is still no closer to understanding the true reason the NSW government wants their Rozelle property.

“The NSW government and RMS should take the opportunity to engage with our company on proposed sensible alternatives, so that Desane can get on with the business of creating value for its investors as well as its mum and dad shareholders,” Sheehan said.

Related reading: NSW Government Sells Five Dock Site

68-72 Lilyfield Road,2


At the heart of the dispute is the 5,200-square metre parcel of land in Rozelle that is earmarked as part of the construction of the WestConnex infrastructure.

The property brawl between private land owners and the state government extends to Timber merchant Swadlings, a 100-year-old family business, and Gillespies, a crane hire firm over their Lilyfied Road, Rozelle sites.

The parties involved believe they have been offered “lowball” valuations by the NSW Valuer general to buy them out through compulsory acquisition.

An RMS spokesperson told the Sydney Morning Herald that the property at 88-90 Lilyfield Road at Rozelle, occupied by Swadlings Timber, is required for M4-M5 Link Rozelle Interchange.

''The M4-M5 Link Environmental Impact Statement shows the land as required for a temporary construction and tunnelling site, and at the project’s completion, will be returned to the community as part of up to 10 hectares of open green space.”

A spokesman said Swadlings is still in talks with the government and waiting for the Valuer General to offer a determination on the amount RMS has offered.

During the Supreme Court trial, Desane settled its accessorial liability claims against both the State of NSW and the Sydney Motorway Corporation resulting in an outcome where each party carried their own legal costs in the proceedings.

The Supreme Court judgment is expected to be handed down by mid- to late-April 2018.

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