Warren Hately

Augusta Margaret River Times
The gutted ruins of Wallcliffe House in Margaret River.
Camera IconThe gutted ruins of Wallcliffe House in Margaret River. Credit: Getty Images

The owners of Wallcliffe House have outlined their disappointed in Wednesday night’s council decision to knock back their resort proposal.

In a statement provided to the Times, Alexandra and Julian Burt said they were “stepping back” to consider their options — which could include bringing in their lawyers to take the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River to WA’s State Administrative Tribunal.

The Burts’ statement in full:

At a meeting last evening, the Augusta-Margaret River Shire council voted 4 – 3 against the initiation of a Town Planning Scheme Amendment for the iconic Wallcliffe House property in Margaret River that was destroyed by fire in 2011.

The proposal sought the Shire’s support for a minor amendment to allow accommodation other than simply a guesthouse on the site to enable Wallcliffe House to be reimagined as a boutique, luxury hotel with no more than 50 guest rooms.

Speaking after the meeting, property owner and proponent of the amendment Alexandra Burt, who is also the owner of one of the region’s most well-known wineries, Voyager Estate, said, “We are incredibly disappointed with the council’s decision. In our view, the council failed to address the question that was before them.

The dissenting councillors raised several concerns, all of which we agree are critical.

However, the development process set out by council ensures a high degree of checks and balances across the entire project before a (development application) could be issued and we were looking forward to the opportunity to progress that with the broader community by having this amendment request initiated. This first step of initiation was knocked back.”

Ms Burt went on to say, “We have already been conducting a rigorous amount of consultation with neighbours, traditional custodians, (Shire) staff and councillors, environment and heritage experts, local business people and tourism groups. Overwhelmingly, the community is highly-engaged with the vision for the project and were eagerly awaiting their chance to see the plans we have for the site. Council has prevented them from having that opportunity.”

“We are concerned that this decision might set a precedent in relation to future investment – of both money and vision – in the region.”

The Burts will now be stepping back to consider their options.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails