Chamber calls for high density residential zone

Peninsula Chamber wants Council to fast-track the revitalisation of Woy Woy town centre

The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has called for the introduction of a high density residential zone on the Peninsula with a comprehensive review of planning controls for the Central Coast Council.

Chamber president Mr Matthew Wales urged the new Central Coast Council to act swiftly on key planning issues, following the swearing-in of the new councillors. “It’s imperative that the new Council pushes forward with the comprehensive review of the planning guidelines and ensures that there is adequate land supply and diversity of housing. “The comprehensive review will be the game changer and this council needs to get onto that almost immediately because it is going to take several years to review, resolve and have gazetted but it will deal with those crucial underlying issues such as land availability, urban consolidation and the introduction of new residential zones like R3 and R4 which is high-density zones.

“There is certainly a role on the Peninsula for the R3 zone in order to achieve higher urban densities,” Mr Wales said. He said that meant finding ways to accommodate more people per square metre and that included a review of both floor space ratio controls and height controls particularly around town centres. “Elections are over and it’s now time for the new Council to get on with the job of running this city,” said Chamber president Mr Matthew Wales. “During the period of administration, many of the key merger issues were addressed including the cleaning up of the financial mess from the former Gosford Council,” Mr Wales said.

“Also during that time, planning staff prepared a new Consolidation Plan which merged the former Gosford and Wyong Local Environmental Plans but sadly this was never placed on public exhibition prior to the Local Government Elections,” he said. “This now has to be the priority for the new Council so that the building and development industry has certainty as the city moves forward. “The sooner the new Council adopts the new planning regime and gets this out on exhibition, the better equipped the city will be to deal with the 70,000 new people that will call the Central Coast home over the next 20 years.

“We cannot afford for that to be delayed. “It needs to go out on exhibition so that the council can get public feedback and send that plan on to the Minister. “It needs to clean up the anomalies between the two existing planning instruments if for no other reason than to get consistency across the new local government area. “More importantly for the Peninsula is that the Consolidation Plan is a housekeeping process which will then lead to the comprehensive review of the citywide planning controls. “For me the most pressing issue this new council has to come to grips with, is the Woy Woy town centre review,” he said. “We have to get on top of that and fi nd ways to renew that town centre and encourage, more importantly, residential accommodation within the town. “We have to be realistic and accept that you’ve got to make development financially attractive in order to encourage the right development to occur. “We really do need all the councillors to show some leadership and focus on town centre revitalisation and not just be Gosford-centric, we have paid an ugly price for that.

“The Chamber wants a full review of the town centre controls particularly for the Woy Woy commercial precinct. “While we congratulate Jane Smith on her election as mayor of the Central Coast Council, we would encourage her to show quick and strong leadership in advancing these key planning projects for the benefit of all residents,” he said. “This is clearly an unusual council with an odd mix of experience and politics but there has never been a more important time for this city than this next two years and the Chamber of Commerce genuinely hopes that strong, bold and quick decisions are made on a raft of issues. “Our members are telling me that business is still very patchy.

“Some sectors are good such as restaurants and cafes. “Retail is still tough but I think we have come to a time when we need to change our offer and lift our standards because a lot of people we are seeing coming into town now are younger. “They demand more and they have the money to spend but you’ve got to provide the right product otherwise they will spend the money elsewhere. “I think the Peninsula has some catching up to do to capitalise on the change in the demographics.”

SOURCE: Media release, 25 Sep 2017 Interview, 26 Sep 2017 Matthew Wales, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Reporter: Jackie Pearson