In answer to a question in Parliament by Greens MP David Shoebridge about the time the Government was taking to make a decision on the Lewisham Towers development proposal, which was first lodged 18 months ago, Planning Minister Tony Kelly has blamed the developers for the delay in providing an environmental assessment of the proposal.

“One of the key arguments of  the Government for bringing in the Part 3A development process that overrides council and community input into development was that Part 3A was faster,” said Mr Shoebridge, Greens spokesperson for Planning.

“Clearly in this case it is not, though perhaps that has more to do with the deep community opposition to the project as well as the unanimous opposition of Marrickville Council. The role of Part 3A is effectively to impose very unpopular developments on local residents.

“Part 3A developments are described as being of ‘state significance’.  A number of apartment blocks and a supermarket are hardly state significant.  This is a misuse of Part 3A and should be referred back to the local council”

“I have serious concerns at the time this process has taken, that it has caused great stress to local residents of Lewisham and Summer Hill who may be seriously affected if this oversized development is approved, and to local businesses that may have put new development on hold due to the likely damaging impact the development would have on nearby shopping strips.

“The Minister failed to answer my question on whether the decision on this development may now be put off until after the State election in March next year, and local residents should be concerned that this process is now being manipulated to save the political skin of Deputy Premier and member for Marrickville, Carmel Tebbutt.

“In recent days we have seen a report from the Total Environment Centre which highlighted the loss of faith felt across NSW in the planning system, particularly the Part 3A process and Joint Regional Planning Panels.

“Only The Greens opposed the transfer of planning powers from local government to the Minister for Planning. The Greens are committed to revitalising the planning laws in this state so that decision making is returned to local government, that genuine community consultation is undertaken and that environmental and social sustainability become central to the planning assessment process.

“If the Minister for Planning and Deputy Premier were serious about community concerns over Lewisham, the Marrickville Metro and the old RSL they would move to scrap Part 3A and give back planning powers to local government.

“Only local government is close enough to the people to make key local planning decisions that have a significant impact on our neighborhoods,” said Mr Shoebridge.

Contact: Colin Hesse on 02 9230 3030 or 0401 719 124