BMCC Motion to seek regulatory reform of the NSW Planning System endorsed at LGNSW Conference

15 Oct 2019

LGNSW delegates have voted unanimously to support a Blue Mountains City Council motion to seek regulatory reform of the NSW planning system, regarding the delayed implementation of development consents.

The motion, endorsed at the 2019 LGNSW Annual Conference today (15 October), means the peak industry association that represents NSW councils will lobby against current NSW planning legislation that permits “zombie” development applications to proceed. This currently occurs without obligation to review against contemporary planning and environmental standards, or the views of the present community.

Councillor Kevin Schreiber, who brought the original motion to Council and is attending the 2019 LGNSW Annual Conference, said: “It’s great to see that conference delegates are as concerned about these “zombie” development applications, as we are.

“Under current NSW planning legislation, once a development consent has been secured it can be implemented at any time in the future. 

“We have seen this occur in relation to the Flora and Fauna Park currently being developed at 10 Great Western Highway, Wentworth Falls. Development consent issued in 1989 was secured when physical commencement occurred on site in 1992.  A lot has changed since then, but we cannot stop this type of development occurring given the current legislation.

“Where there are undue delays in development, in this case some 30 years, development should be required to adhere to present planning standards and the community’s expectation for sustainable development.”

Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “I congratulate Councillor Schreiber for his work in bringing this motion to fruition. Regulatory reform is badly needed in this space so as to promote sustainable development and restore the community’s confidence in the planning and development system.

“Development consents that have not been implemented within a reasonable timeframe should expire by way of a mandatory sunset provision.  We believe that following a consent being secured, owners should be given a period of three years to finalise the development, with an extension of up to two years where good cause is established.

“This will ensure that where a development has not been finalised within a reasonable timeframe, re-lodgement of an application would be required so that the development could be made compliant with contemporary planning and environmental standards and the community’s expectation for sustainable development.”

Councillors Romola Hollywood, Darryl Bowling and Mick Fell are also attending the 2019 LGNSW Annual Conference on behalf of Blue Mountains City Council.

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