The development industry has slammed Central Coast Council, after councillors voted at their March 23 meeting to defer public exhibition of its Draft Local Strategic Planning Statement for as long as 12 months.
Council will write to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment seeking a 12-month extension for the finalisation of the draft which outlines the basis for strategic planning on the Coast.
In putting forward the deferral, Deputy Mayor, Jane Smith, said it would be difficult to expect the community to engage in the process, which included public exhibition, of the statement at the moment.
Cr Smith said all councils in NSW outside of the metropolitan areas had a deadline of the end of June to adopt these statements, and most would, like Central Coast Council, be ready to go on public exhibition, but it was difficult to see how this could happen under the circumstances.
“We need to do this well, so on the advice of staff, it is worth asking the question of the Department of Planning for a 12-month extension,” she said.
The statement takes into account economic, social and environmental matters, the planning priorities aligning with any strategic plans applying to areas; the actions required for achieving those planning priorities and the basis on which the Council is to monitor and report on the implementation of those actions.
At its previous meeting, on March 9, Council had decided to defer its decisions on two other draft documents, the Local Environment Plan (CCLEP) and the Development Control Plan (CCDCP), until the Local Strategic Planning Statement had been adopted.
The council also recommended a raft of changes to those two drafts.
Councillors are to receive a further briefing on the draft CCLEP and CCDCP and councillors and staff will meet with Department of Planning, Industry and Environment representatives to discuss and outline a process to take these “key strategic planning processes forward”.
The draft CCLEP and CCDCP were developed following a period of public consultation, which generated over 700 written submissions.
The purpose of the plans is to consolidate and harmonise planning controls across the region and simplify planning processes and is the first stage in the Central Coast Comprehensive LEP Review.
At the March 9 meeting, Cr Smith said it was doing things back to front to try to finalise the DCP and LEP before the Local Strategic Planning Statement.
But Central Coast Chair of the Urban Development Industry of Australia NSW (UDIA), Caine King, said Council was “leaving the community in limbo” by “stifling development on the Coast and inhibiting local jobs growth”.
“There are a number of projects which would be shovel-ready by now if it weren’t for these delays,” King said.
“Lost projects mean lost local jobs.
“Developers’ hands are tied until we get the LEP in place.
“UDIA notes that other councils are still endeavouring to deliver their LSPS on time despite the current challenges.
“We understand that council is working to a more comprehensive review of the LEP, which includes reviews of rural land, housing strategies and many other aspects impacting on strategic planning for our region.”
King urged council to push ahead a consolidating LEP (previously shelved in favour of waiting for a comprehensive regional plan) while these broader studies continued.
“Local developers and construction workers are fed up with years of delays,” he said.
“Projects are being held up by the uncertainty.
“Until the Consolidated LEP is finished, economic growth on the Central Coast cannot proceed.
“Now, with the LSPS and local elections being postponed until 2021, we fear that Council will continue to renege on (its) duty to residents and local businesses.”
He said UDIA NSW had implored State Government to hold the council accountable to its original deadline.
Agenda item 2.1
Central Coast Council extraordinary meeting, Mar 23.
Media release, Mar 9,
Central Coast Council
Media release, Mar 27
Urban Development Institute of Australia (NSW) Central Coast, Caine King