How a government blunder destroyed a young mother’s life after she was banned from building a home for her kids on her OWN land
- Jennifer Peace left financially and emotionally destroyed by council screwup
- Small block of land in Manly was bought to build home for her and her daughters
- She was told before purchasing there were no ‘burdens’ or ‘easements’
- On lodging a development application she was told she could not build
- This is due to sewerage pipes being on the land, an error she says is on council
A local council screwup has left a woman in financial and emotional ruin after being denied the right to build on her block of land.
Jennifer Peace bought a small block of land in Manly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches where she planned to build a home for her and her two young daughters but council blocked the move saying she could not start construction due to stormwater pipes.
Five years ago – before purchasing the land – both her and her lawyers checked with Northern Beaches Council if there were any issues or easements that would prevent her building and they were assured that there were no problems.
However, it was only after she lodged the development application for her dream home that she was made aware of the pipes.
‘I know they made a mistake and the price I have paid is way more than financial, it has emotionally destroyed me, I don’t sleep and my children have grown up without a home,’ Ms Peace told A Current Affair.
A council screwup has left a woman in financial ruin. Jennifer Peace (pictured) bought a small block of land on the Northern Beaches only to be then told she couldn’t build on it due to stormwater pipes
Now the block of land is overgrown and she is crippled with financial hardship as mortgage payments and the ongoing fight with council take its toll.
Her lawyer Arthur Carney said it was the worst case he had seen in 40 years in the business.
‘She did all the right things before purchase and then suddenly (the) council unearthed a long lost document,’ Mr Carney said.
Northern Beaches Council said they asked Ms Peace to lodge an application for compensation to remove and re-direct the pipes but Ms Peace said the cost would be enormous and even then she would have no guarantee she would be reimbursed for the work.
‘They could very well refuse the compensation claim and they also want to take around 20 per cent of my land as an easement,’ Ms Peace said.
The council said in a statement that they had done everything in their power to assist Ms Peace and on a number of occasions encouraged her to submit a claim for compensation to cover the cost of the stormwater pipe relocation.
Peace: ‘I know they made a mistake and the price I have paid is way more than financial, it has emotionally destroyed me, I don’t sleep and my children have grown up without a home’
A frustrated Ms Peace said council is currently holding $120,000 of her money as a surety over its own pipes which she claims council is demanding she removes and replace.
According to Ms Peace council expects her to remove and replace the pipes and then provide receipts to then put in a compensation claim.
She insists council incorrectly subdivided the land and has it in writing at the time of purchase the land had no ‘burdens or easements’ and she does not have $100,000 to fix the council’s error.
Ms Peace said on top of all that council requested she provide 20 per cent of her land back to council as a new easement with no monetary compensation.
By doing so it would push the block size under 250 square metres – the minimum legal subdivision size in NSW – meaning the subdivision is no longer allowed.