Sungai Ara condo residents lose appeal to set aside planning permission for housing scheme on hillslope

Residents of a condominium in Sungai Ara today lost in their appeal to set aside the decision of the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) in granting planning permission to a property developer to develop a housing scheme on a hillslope. — Reuters pic
Residents of a condominium in Sungai Ara today lost in their appeal to set aside the decision of the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) in granting planning permission to a property developer to develop a housing scheme on a hillslope. — Reuters pic

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PUTRAJAYA, May 7 — Residents of a condominium in Sungai Ara today lost in their appeal to set aside the decision of the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) in granting planning permission to a property developer to develop a housing scheme on a hillslope.

In dismissing the appeal, Court of Appeal judge Datuk Yaacob Sam, who chaired a three-member panel, said the court agreed with the High Court’s findings and affirmed its findings and decision.

“We find there are no merits in the appeal which warrant us to exercise our appellate intervention. We unanimously dismiss this appeal,” he added.

Justice Yaacob said the court agreed with the submission by counsel Datuk Dr Cyrus Das, representing Sunway City (Penang) Sdn Bhd, that the structure plan prescribed general policies for development within the Penang state and is not to be treated as a piece of legislation.

He said the principle that the planning policies in the structure plan needed not be slavishly followed by MBPP, as a local planning authority, when dealing with the planning permission application.

Presiding with him were Justices Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil and Datuk Lau Bee Lan.

The residents of the Sunrise Garden Condominium, represented resented by lawyer Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar, was appealing against the Penang High Court’s decision in May 2017 which ruled in favour of Sunway City.

On May 29, 2017, the High Court allowed a judicial review filed by Sunway City and quashed the decision of the Penang Appeal Board in setting aside the planning permission given to Sunway City to develop the land into a gated and guarded housing scheme.

MBPP had approved Sunway City’s application for the proposed development in Feb 2012.

The land measuring a total area of 32.7 hectare is situated within the Sungai Ara area at an elevation of more than 76 metres above sea level with a gradient exceeding 25 degrees.

The residents appealed to the Penang Appeal Board against the granting of the planning permission by MBPP and in Jan 2016, the Appeal Board set aside the planning permission granted to Sunway City.

Being aggrieved and adversely affected with the decision of the Appeal Board as Sunway City would be unable to proceed with the proposed development on the land, the company filed a judicial review at the Penang High Court.

Sunway City named the board, MBPP and the residents as respondents in its judicial review.

In the judicial review, the developer, sought among others, to quash the Appeal Board’s decision and a declaration to maintain the planning permission granted by MPBB to Sunway City. — Bernama

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