JRPP reluctantly approves tax office

The Doma design for the ATO building right of the historic Arts School building looking from the corner of Mann St and Georgiana Tce

The Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) approved the Doma-Tax office development on part of the former Gosford Public School land on June 30.

The chair of the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP), Mr Gary Fielding, on handing down the panel’s decision to approve the Doma DA, said it was “unfortunate” that the master plan had not been carried through in a statutory planning sense. “Unfortunately the planning intention through the master plan has not been carried through in a statutory planning sense,” Mr Fielding said. “Had the master plan been carried through, then what would have been created would have been an attractive performing arts precinct,” he said. “We must apply the statutory planning context as is. “The development is permissible with consent,” Mr Fielding said. “This [the statutory application of the master plan] would have created an attractive performing arts precinct in the area now being used for a tax offi ce and a proposed state finance office,” said Ms Claire Braund from the Gosford Waterfront Alliance Inc. According to the Alliance Facebook page, the JRPP took four hours, on June 30, to give Doma a deferred commencement to build the ATO on the corner of Mann St and Georgiana Tce. Several community representatives and members of the Gosford Waterfront Alliance argued against the development at the JRPP hearing. “Curiously, no senior council employees attended the hearing,” the Gosford Waterfront Alliance Inc Facebook page said, following the meeting. According to the Alliance, the bodies who had responsibility for the 2010 master plan were Gosford Council, the Central Coast Regional Development Corporation (put in by the NSW Government and now being investigated) and Regional Development Australia Central Coast, of which Mr Bob Ward (a former Gosford councillor and JRPP member) is deputy chair. In his capacity as a JRPP member, Mr Ward approved the building, according to the Alliance. Mr Fielding and JRPP panel member, Ms Kara Krason, urged the Central Coast Council to reactivate discussions with the community about strategic planning for the city and region. Panel member, Mr Ken Greenwald, said he could not approve the development as it did not give activation to the street front, and due to issues in relation to parking. “It was shown that the ATO will be sole tenant of the building for 10 years and the ground fl oor shopfronts will be window glazing only and not available for any businesses. “The building will simply be a bunker for ATO employees.”

Media release, Jul 8, 2016 Facebook posts, Jun 30 and Jul 5, 2016 Claire Braund, Gosford Waterfront Alliance

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