Chamber calls for 'swift action' on local planning panels
The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has urged the NSW State Government to honour its pre-election commitment to introduce local planning panels.
"Now that the State Election is out of the way and the Berejiklian Government has been returned, the Chamber is looking for swift action on the Government's commitment to introduce the Local Planning Panel system to the Central Coast," said Chamber president Mr Matthew Wales.
"The development industry is continuing to see lengthy delays in the processing of major development applications worth over five million dollars as Council still struggles to deal with the volume of DAs and the mandatory referral of these matters to Council meetings if more than 15 submissions have been received".
"This is continuing to cause major delays for many significant applications and the unnecessary referral of matters to Council which should otherwise be managed by Council's highly qualified professional staff," he said.
"The introduction of local planning panels, with independent members assessing applications, would take considerable pressure off the local Council and allow it to concentrate on running the affairs of the city rather than being side-tracked by complex development issues.
"Local planning panels bring greater expertise, transparency and integrity to the development assessment process at a local level and have proved highly successful in the Sydney Metropolitan Region and Wollongong.
"The last thing the industry wants is a back log of DAs being tied up in Council meeting for months on end only to be refused despite recommendations from staff that the applications should be supported.
"This will also result in an increase in Land and Environment Court Appeals as applicants seek redress through the Court system which only serves to add costs to the development which is ultimately passed onto the consumer.
"Having an independent assessment process that is at arm's length from the Council and will eliminate local politics interfering with the merit-based assessment of development applications.
"Council's current inflexibility with regards to variations to development standards is causing uncertainty in the industry and threatens to undermine investment confidence on the Central Coast.
"It is imperative that the NSW State Government gets on with the job of implementing the planning panel regime to the Central Coast so that the building and development industry has more certainty in the processing of major applications," Mr Wales said.
Media release, 29 March 2019
Matthew Wales, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce