Return our local government planning powers

Letters to the editorLetters to the editor

[Forum] We did not ask for a Coordinator General for the Central Coast.

I thought that only yesterday, in the wreckage of the Wagga by-election, our Premier said she was listening to the people, not overriding local planning via Ministerial special appointments bent on “kicking heads” to further state capture by the Property Council and its multinational affiliates. We demand a halt to Minister for Planning powering over local communities, on the Central Coast in particular. The DCP has been prepared by an unelected bureaucracy.

Areas of major concern are: No traffic or parking study, such a study should be undertaken and implemented prior to any changes in zoning or planning criteria; there is a proposal to have unlimited heights in Gosford; amending the provision and location of car parking requirements for selected developments, some developments will have less/no parking provided; unlimited density and heights of buildings in key locations; creation of wind tunnels; and, overshadowing of public areas especially Kibble Park and Leagues Club Park, resulting in excessive shadowing. The DCP has no limit on the number of storeys in some locations.

Buildings could be 30 or more storeys in height, ignoring an unpublished economic feasibility study from 2017/18, that predicted buildings in excess of 10 storeys as actually not feasible in Gosford. Bureaucrats removed many of the controls recommended by the consultants with no justification. The proposed changes in this DCP are of such magnitude, that as a total package, it is undemocratic, and if implemented, will further diminish our, and our children’s, quality of life. Governments’ prime objective should be to raise our quality of life not diminish it. In accordance with the Local Government Act 1993, Council is charged with the responsibility to actively engage with local communities to provide strong and effective representation, leadership, planning, and decisionmaking.

The revitalisation of the city centre is, therefore, the Council’s responsibility. There is already activation in Gosford. The NSW government is proposing a new SEPP and DCP for Gosford CBD. This will take away planning powers from the locally elected council for all but small developments. This is hypocritical, having merged two councils to gain scale and capacity for Central Coast Council, and will allow significant development approvals before traffic and parking studies are completed. It will also allow multiple storey buildings of unlimited height and the Floor Space ratio in the Draft Gosford DCP is subject only to “design excellence”, and it will allow significant overshadowing in public areas such as Kibble Park or Leagues Club field. We want more time and a better consulted community.

Email, Sep 10 Kay Williams, Pearl Beach