Better Planning Group seeks to re-involve community in future development of Coast

CEN Chair, Gary Chestnut

The Central Coast Community Better Planning Group and Central Coast Friends of Democracy will co-host a community planning forum on Saturday, October 23.

Better Planning Group Chair, Gary Chestnut, said the two community organisations wanted to invite the whole community to have more influence over how the Central Coast will be developed in the future.

“Since 2015 we have had a forced Council amalgamation, the introduction of State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) and planning panels – all of which have taken decision-making about development on the Central Coast out of the community’s hands,” Chestnut said.

“The Central Coast local government area has also spent almost half of its first five years as a regional council under NSW Government Administration which has further eroded the community’s influence in decision-making and, until the Public Inquiry into the Council’s financial status is concluded, we do not know when our democratic local government representation will be restored.”

Former Central Coast Council Mayor and founder of Central Coast Friends of Democracy, Jane Smith, said the community planning forum will be a “first step” towards giving the community a greater say in the region’s future.

“We know that members of the Central Coast community have very strong opinions about the future direction they want this region to move in and it is time their voices were heard,” Smith said.

“The community planning forum will be a platform for discussion that will kick off a process across the Coast to make certain the whole community is well-informed about the impact of planning decisions that are already in the pipeline.

“This event will be an opportunity to listen to current decision-makers from Central Coast Council, local and state organisations and activists who are already campaigning on behalf of the broader community.

“It will also be a platform for you to share your concerns and ideas about planning and developments in your own neighbourhood and the whole region.

“At the moment we are voiceless.

“Decisions are being made behind closed doors and with the flick of a pen that have long-term consequences for the local environment, for the amenity of our villages and suburbs – for our beloved lifestyle.

“The Community Better Planning Group and Friends of Democracy invite all community members to register to participate in this important forum.

“It will be a starting point for an ongoing campaign to put our community in control of its future.”

Those wishing to attend the planning forum can register via

Media release, Sep 9
Central Coast Community Better Planning Group and Friends of Democracy