Is Michael Clarke’s Cricket Academy Development Permissible?

23/08/2012 11:17 am

Michael Clarke has purchased an estate in Berrima in the Southern Highlands of NSW for his cricket academy venture.

Property Observer reported that the property was advertised for an August auction with hopes of $3.65 million, and that Clarke and his new bride Kyly are understood to have secured it after private negotiations for about $3.25 million.

It is understood that Clarke purchased the property in order fulfil his dream of opening a cricket academy. Blockbrief has therefore looked at whether Clarke’s property development is actually permissible on the property under Wingecarribee Shire Council’s planning controls.

The property is ideally suited for the cricket academy, a 93 hectare lifestyle farm with an existing fenced oval with a cricket pitch. More importantly the property is located close to the boyhood home of Sir Donald Bradman in Bowral, also the location of the International Cricket Hall of Fame. The property designed by architect Richard Rowe, is a four-bedroom house with mature landscaping. Along with the cricket pitch the property has a tennis court, equestrian arena and a lake with a boathouse.

It is understood from the Property Observer report that Clarke wishes to open a cricket academy on the property, to educate youngsters in all facets of the game including diet. Without full knowledge of Clarkes plan it is hard to determine if he plans to carry out any physical works to convert the property to an academy. However, he will need approval for the change of use.

Given that Bowral is located over an hour from Sydney and that Clarke plans to cater for local and overseas cricketers it is estimated he will need to provide accommodation on the property.



Under the Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan 2010 (LEP), without knowing of any physical works, the proposed development would be a change of use to an outdoor recreation facility and ancillary accommodation.

The property is part zoned E3 Environmental Management Zone and part RU2 Rural Landscape Zone under the LEP. Both of these zones aim to provide for a restricted range of development and land use activities that provide for rural settlements, sustainable agriculture, and other types of economic development and recreation. The good news for the Australian cricket captain is that outdoor recreation facilities are permitted with the consent of council within the E3  and RU2 zones.

An outdoor recreation facility is defined in the LEP as :

A building or place (other than a recreation area) used predominantly for outdoor recreation, whether or not operated for the purposes of gain, including a golf course, golf driving range, mini-golf centre, tennis court, paint-ball centre, lawn bowling green, outdoor swimming pool, equestrian centre, skate board ramp, go-kart track, rifle range, water-ski centre or any other building or place of a like character used for outdoor recreation (including any ancillary buildings), but does not include an entertainment facility or a recreation facility (major).

Now as far as accommodation goes that is where it becomes a little tricky. Clarke will need to demonstrate in his application that any accommodation is ancillary and that the outdoor recreational facility is the dominant use of the development. Otherwise the accommodation would be defined as tourist and visitor accommodation, which is prohibited within the E3 and RU2 zones. Clarke would then need to lodge a planning proposal to rezone the property to allow tourist accommodation.


It is understood that Clarke hopes to open for business within 12 to 24 months. We think Clarke better get started getting his plans and application together and lodge soon, as Wingecarribee Council on average took over two months to assess development applications last year and a planning proposal, well that is a totally different story. Given that Clarke typically surrounds himself with the best advisers, best friends with the accountant to the stars, Anthony Bell of Bell Partners and that his wife has experience in property we expect that the cricket star is already on to it.