The new Tweed Valley Hospital site at Cudgen.
The new Tweed Valley Hospital site at Cudgen. Scott Powick

Developer says purchase next to hospital is "coincidental"

THE retired owner of a former development company who purchased land adjacent to the new $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital site says he has "no plans" to develop the site and dismissed the purchase as "purely coincidental".

It emerged last week that a Tweed couple who owned a 5.69 hectare block alongside the new hospital site at 741 Cudgen Rd had sold their land to Brisbane based company IRBS 1 Pty Ltd, who formerly traded as the development company Aspect Property Group, for $4 million on February 12.

This led to State Labor candidate for Tweed Craig Elliot claiming "the hospital at Cudgen has always been about property deals and allowing developers into Kingscliff".

 

Labor candidate Craig Elliot posted this on his Facebook page.
Labor candidate Craig Elliot posted this claim on his Facebook page. Facebook

But the now retired owner of IRBS 1 Pty Ltd, Allan Larkin, said he had negotiated the land purchase in September 2017 before the adjacent block had even been confirmed as the site of the Tweed Valley Hospital.

Mr Larkin previously developed multi-level residential apartment projects in South East Queensland through Aspect Property Group, but has since "retired from that activity and has no plans to proceed with any such development on the Cudgen land."

"I purchased the land regardless of the outcome with the hospital, because it is in a unique location," he said.

"I had already intended to purchase the land well before the neighbouring site was earmarked for the hospital.

"While I was aware the State government was looking for a hospital site in the area, I have no political ties with any sitting or potential State or local Shire members. I have also never made any donations to, nor met with any of these local members - the purchase was simply coincidental."

 

The site adjacent to the Tweed Valley Hospital.
The site adjacent to the Tweed Valley Hospital. Google

Mr Larkin said the NSW Government Probity Office had also reviewed the purchase of the site in June of last year and "found no conflicts of interest" in the negotiations. 

He said once additional feedback was requested after the initial site selection, he wrote to the selection committee offering his Cudgen Road site as an alternative.

He says the offer was not taken up by the selection committee.

"I understand there is concern around development in the area, but I want to be clear that I have no plans, nor intentions, to deliver multi-level residential buildings on the site, so locals can be assured there is no 'Gold Coast' style development agenda at play here," he said.