Councils to lose approval rights over developments
The Mayor of the City of Canterbury, Cr Brian Robson, is appalled by a State Government proposal which will result in Councils losing approval rights over development applications.
"The State Government has lost sight of the community in its review of Planning Laws (the Environment and Planning Act)," Mayor Brian Robson said.
"Planning laws have a huge impact on local communities, and whilst we welcome measures to improve the process, make it less complicated, and eliminate delays, the concerns of neighbours and local communities always need to be taken into consideration.
"I'm appalled by Minister Hazzard's comments that Councillors determine Development Applications (DAs) based on personal political interests rather than the merits of the proposal.
"This comment demonstrates his complete lack of understanding of local planning processes, and his contempt for the impact of developments on local residents, neighborhoods and communities.
"Local Councillors have a key role in setting the planning policies and frameworks to guide developments in their local areas.
"And, the introduction of our Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel, which makes recommendations on contentious developments to Council, has been instrumental in assisting us - in the City of Canterbury - when determining DAs.
"However to propose that Councillors should have no role in determining DAs - is totally unacceptable and is an insult to their integrity.
"In his attempt to woo developers, the Minister has turned his back on residents - who don't have the ability to appeal their concerns to the Land and Environment Court - they appeal to their Councillors to consider a DA on its merits - taking into consideration such issues as the amenity and character of the street and its surrounds, and more intimate details of the design of the proposal which may have an impact on their amenity and enjoyment of their homes.
"There is room for improvement and reforms to the Environment and Planning Act, however we need to protect and respect the rights of residents and local communities who must have a say on local Development Applications," the Mayor said.