Planning controls were result of exhaustive consultation
I write in response to your article "New group calls for compliant development" (Peninsula News edition 465) and the concerns Mr Gillis raises over what the group calls unsuitable and non-complying development in the Ettalong area.
It is timely to remind Mr Gillis that the current planning guidelines and development controls that give direction to residential and commercial development on the Peninsula came about from an exhaustive consultation process that started with the highly successful Peninsula Urban Direction Strategy in 2005.
PUDS, as it was commonly known, was a detailed assessment of the needs of the Peninsula which included extensive community consultation to which the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and the wider community all contributed.
This strategy was adopted by the former Gosford City Council and informed the current Gosford Local Environmental Plan 2014 and the Gosford Development Control Plan 2013.
These planning controls, which appear to bear the criticism of this new group, set the out the uses, heights and floor space ratios for each of our Peninsula town centres including Ettalong.
I have no idea whether the members of this new group were around at that time, but I certainly was in my capacity as president of the Business Chamber.
It was a credit to the former Gosford Council at the time that the community consultation was so successful and set a fundamental platform for current urban development.
This group seems to infer that Council is somehow responsible for approving inappropriate development which couldn't be further from the truth.
Council's staff are highly professional and, from personal experience, rigorously assess all development applications to ensure that they comply with the objectives of Council's planning controls.
Contrary to this group view of the world, both the Gosford LEP and the Gosford DCP make provision for variations to controls so that urban development has a degree of flexibility.
Strict compliance doesn't always give a better design outcome which Council recognises on a regular basis just as it recognises the right for people to lodge objections to development.
But newcomers to our community should remember that the very planning controls that we have at our disposal came about as a result of the wide community consultation to which I and thousands of other locals at the time contributed.
That fact should be respected before criticism is levelled at the local Council.
Email, 20 Mar 2019
Matthew Wales, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce