Gunnedah Shire Council has agreed to undertake a scoping study to improve a rural road that was abandoned by developers two decades ago.

In a notion of motion to a recent council meeting, councillor Rob Hoddle proposed that a study be undertaken to improve Beesons Road, located about 20km south-west of Gunnedah.

“Especially as there has been a considerable increase in traffic on the road resulting in deterioration of the surface and increased dust,” Cr Hoddle said.

The councillor described it as an “unusual situation” where a previously approved sub division did not require developers to implement any improvements to the road infrastructure.

Cr Hoddle said council approved Leyburn Estate in about 2004, where property developers sub-divided the 3200-acre property into 32, 100-acre allotments.

He said the first stage of the project sold nine blocks but the remaining lots were not developed.

Despite the increased residential properties in the area and a gravel quarry in the area, “very little” road infrastructure has been constructed and the road remains in “very poor quality”.

Cr Hoddle estimated about 2.6km of Beesons Road would need to be upgraded, including at least two causeways.

He hoped the scoping study would provide council with an approximate cost to bituminise the road surface and add drainage as well as a source of funding.

In a separate notice of motion by Cr Hoddle, he also requested council identify which demographic is most in demand for new housing.

The original motion read: “Following discussion at the December 2023 Economy and Growth Working Group meeting, it was agreed to request that council prioritise the Local Housing Strategy and bring forward work associated with the Local Housing Strategy as a matter of priority. To enable this I further request that a report be brought at the earliest opportunity to a future meeting of council detailing the cost and resourcing requirements to bring forward the work on the Local Housing Strategy and also detailing funding options.”

“We’re all aware of the housing shortage and we’ve looked at options around Arthur Heath Park [but] there are other options,” Cr Hoddle said.

“I would like to see a plan on the other options.

“We need to identify where the shortage is – is it single people who come here as police, teachers, nurses …

“[We should] put on the table what options we can look at and some costings.”

Councillors also accepted an amendment by Juliana McArthur to also include the phrase “in this term of council” in the wording of the motion.

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