You are here: Home / Media / People push demands rethink on city development plan

People push demands rethink on city development plan

THE Premier, Barry O'Farrell, took office promising to hand planning powers back to the people, and inner Sydney residents are taking him at his word reports Kelsey Munro in the Sydney Morning Herald of 20 May 2011.

THE Premier, Barry O'Farrell, took office promising to hand planning powers back to the people, and inner Sydney residents are taking him at his word.

A dozen groups from Rosebery to Potts Point and Glebe have written to him and the Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, seeking to have the draft city plan put on hold, saying it is tainted by the former government which they say backed over-development.

The draft Sydney Local Environment Plan is being created by the City of Sydney council but must be approved by the state government. Once finalised, it will dictate zoning, building heights, density, parking and heritage controls in inner Sydney for at least a decade.

In an open letter to Mr O'Farrell, Mr Hazzard, the Heritage Minister, Robyn Parker, and the lord mayor, Clover Moore, residents groups have asked for further consultation on issues including transport, heritage protection and ''resident amenity''.

Geoff Turnbull of REDWatch, a Redfern-Waterloo group, said the biggest problems with the draft plan resulted from actions by the former government, including the controversial move to force the city to double permissible tower heights in the Ashmore precinct at Erskineville.

Brett Mason, from Friends of Erskineville, said there was no transport plan to cope with such an increase in development.

''There is a lot of extra development to go on Ashmore, on Green Square, on numerous other old industrial sites in coming years, and there's no real discussion around the proper levels of public transport infrastructure that needs to be in place before any of that happens,'' he said. ''The train lines are effectively at capacity. We'd at least like to see a plan.''

Jo Holder, from the Darlinghurst Residents' Action Group, said the draft LEP is ''clearly way out of whack and massively skewed towards developers''.

She was also critical of the council's role. ''They've got something [in the draft plan] called active frontages which are everywhere … Basically in this city it seems you can do anything you want as long as you call it a bar.''

Mr Hazzard declined to answer the resident groups' request to delay the draft LEP.

A spokeswoman for the minister said: ''No decision has been made on the City of Sydney plan. The minister will consider the advice from both the city and the Department [of Planning] before making any final decision.''

A spokeswoman for the council defended the draft plan.

''[It] balances the need for extra housing, office space, retail and industrial floor space with the preservation of our villages' character,'' she said.

City planners are reviewing public feedback on the plan, which will go to the council later this year.

Resident Complaints

  • The draft LEP is "in conflict" with the Premier's promise to hand planning powers back to the people
  • The former government told the council to double tower heights on Ashmore Precinct to 60 metres
  • Redfern-Waterloo area was taken out of Council control
  • New heritage listings not reconciled with lists held by the National Trust and Institute of Architects
  • No transport plan to cope with population influx


See the text of the open letter at: REDWatch Joins in Open Letter to NSW Government