Local Planning Panels are self serving

NSW Planning & Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes on the Central Coast with Terrigal MP, Adam CrouchNSW Planning & Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes on the Central Coast with Terrigal MP, Adam Crouch

[Forum] Imagine a situation in which a small gaggle of self interested individuals decided to get together to set up a Central Coast Chapter of the Excellence in Planning Committee.

The sole objective of this Committee would be to give the members and their colleagues free reign to rapidly develop their property portfolios by building structures that exceeded local planning codes. Outrageous, institutionalised corruption, you say?

Well, that’s exactly what is happening with the establishment of the Central Coast Local Planning Committee (LPP), with supposedly independent experts selected from the pro-development, State Planning Ministers own pool of advisors.

That the local Chamber of Commerce and Caine King, the Chair of the UDIA Central Coast Chapter, agree with the establishment of this bogus planning committee, is no surprise.

This is given their obvious vested interests. The appropriately named Mr King, sees the Central Coast as part of his fiefdom, not in need of an elected Council to set the community standards for planning and development.

He apparently does not want elected Councils to reign in his dreams to build 35 story monoliths, nearly three times the current planning heights, on the Gosford waterfront.

Mr King states: The LPP is designed to take the politics out of planning which every other resident has to contend with. Given the planning and development disasters currently afflicting Sydney, Mr King has the gall to add: The LPPs have generally been working well in Sydney.

I suppose that is true if your sole aim is to benefit the developers rather than the broader community, with shoddy developments of excessive heights and densities. Its clear that the sole purpose of this non-representative LPP will be to override the Council planning codes that every other community member on the Coast has to abide by.

The claims by vested interests that the LPP will somehow improve the current planning regime are so transparent and self-serving that they need no further explanation. The fact that this type of blatant circumventing of the planning codes continues to be the modus operandi of the State Planning Minister, is even more worrying, given the massive development problems in Sydney, which are now being pushed into regional areas.

Some would see the current planning and development disasters in NSW as symptomatic of the erosion of effective planning controls, which have taken place under successive governments, to benefit developers at the cost of local residents. These planning nightmares, as well as the ongoing attempts to subvert sensible planning codes, should be cause for a Royal Commission into the building industry as well as the public servants who have allowed this to occur.

My advice to Mr King and his developer cronies is to work within the planning codes established by the local Council in consultation with the community and stop trying to push through proposals of excessive building heights and densities, which have no doubt contributed to the so-called, politics you refer to.

While these types of dubiously titled significant developments may line your pockets, they will surely rapidly increase congestion, deforestation and pollution, while turning the Central Coast Hwy into another Parramatta Rd. This only erodes the quality of life of the Central Coast community. It does not enhance it.

Email, Sep 8 Dr Tahir Turk, Springfield