While I have your attention,Planning!

Planning White PaperThe NSW Govt has presented the Planning White Paper, to date it is lacking some very, very important detail and we’re being asked to comment. Clearly without all the detail this is mostly tokenism but feed back is essential even if part of that is saying NOT ENOUGH DETAIL provided.

This document in essence is, in my view, a developer friendly attack on local government planning procedures. The proposed system will have all discussion with the community reduced to NOW, so speak up now or forever hold your piece… because from everything I’ve read it will not be open for discussion later.

At Present: If your neighbour wants to build a building of pretty much any kind on the vacant block beside you, Council must notify the surrounding residents, you are afforded the opportunity to look over the Development documents (DA’s) if you wish and you can comment. Voice your concerns, embrace it, love it, hate it but generally have a say…before so much as a sod of dirt is turned.

If this goes through: An area will be designated (x)..for example – Residential… meaning housing, so your single storey cottage could end up surrounded by 7 story Multi unit dwellings (MUD’s) and provided its not considered – restricted  – it can go ahead. Because you didn’t complain about it at the White Paper stage (now).

Heaven help those who live on farmland above shale deposits or godforbid coal or csg.

So in ten years time you purchase a lovely little cottage in a nice low rise suburb you won’t be able to complain if ‘mega-developer’ buys the house next door, knocks it down and builds MUD’s – because that boat sailed in 2013.

While this is a simplistic overview this is only the tip of an iceberg that will change planning and development in NSW, so for my two cents worth we need to complain NOW, not just on NIMBY issues but on the whole approach to planning by the present State Government.

Please don’t kid yourself either that once “Labor’ gets back into power all will change because it didn’t happen when Barry and the boys promised to overturn Part 3A so the likelihood of the reverse is much the same.

Lots of issues come into play in this developer friendly document…little things like Parking initiatives and offsets with commercial buildings. EG At present a developer can limit the number of parking spaces he/she provides by paying a fee to local council to offset and provide them elsewhere. The downside is, what they pay in the contribution doesn’t even come close to the cost of actually supplying a space so the developer gets a Free Pass (well comparatively cheaper). This cost should be equal to the cost of replacement, and I can’t see where equity in this doc that is even broached. It also should not fall on councils and rate payers to provide it for the developer.

I could go on and on about this because over time I’ve become extremely passionate about some aspects of planning, because the crux of it is, its not just development we speak about when talking planning, is preservation of history, environment, safety and health issues is a whole box and dice of issues to large to attempt here.

I have attached a document by MLC David Shoebridge and his office outlining the Greens concerns, but again, you need to speak up. You the possible victim of history (thinking ahead 10 yrs) needs to demand fair and equal access to all, a chance to discuss a project when the project is begun, not at the equivalent L.E.P (Local environment plan) stage.

Do you know what your needs will be in 10 yrs? I could guess some of mine but they’d be a guess, I don’t have a crystal ball but I do deserve a government who governs for all…not just those with the money to develop or those who have commercial interests above and beyond anything I could dream of.

It’s a bit like saying you’re going to buy the kids clothes for when your still unborn  turns 16, without a returns policy.



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