Mayor welcomes finding of independent panel: Leura Mall DA
The Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) has deferred Blue Mountains City Council’s development application for 170-174 Leura Mall to allow heritage, landscape and urban design matters to be further considered.
The IHAP announced its finding last night at the conclusion of a public meeting after considering the DA and hearing from interested community members and the Council’s applicant team, including architect and heritage advisor.
Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said, “I welcome the IHAP’s decision and thank the panel for its work on the assessment of this development proposal to date.”
Council assessment staff had recommended deferred commencement of the DA to address heritage and design issues however the panel believed that more work was required to improve the integration of the existing and new sections of the building with the landscape and public domain relating to the site.
The Mayor said, “It was the right decision to adopt an independent process for the assessment of this DA and abandon what had become a politicised process. Transparent, objective assessment is fundamental to the maintenance of community confidence in the planning system and independence of the decision making.
I support the use of the IHAP to achieve the best outcome possible for this DA.”
The DA will come back to the IHAP for final assessment and determination once the requested schedule of conservation works and re-design has been submitted by Council as applicant. This requires the design of the building towards the Council-owned carpark to be reviewed.
The Council established the voluntary IHAP in March 2017 to assess and determine the DA for the Council owned property by an independent, external body, recognising Council is the owner of the property, the applicant and the consent authority. This followed an earlier Mayoral Minute in February 2017 calling for a report setting out options for the assessment and determination of the DA.
An Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel, known as an IHAP, is a panel of three independent expert members and a community member that assess development applications made to local Councils.