Dear Lord Mayor
Pursuant to clauses 7.1.3 and 7.2, of Newcastle Council’s Code of Meeting Practice, we, the undersigned, hereby request that you call an Extraordinary Meeting of Newcastle Council as outlined below.
An extraordinary Council Meeting on the draft SEPP (Newcastle City Centre) 2014 and DCP 2012 Amendment (Newcastle City Council) currently on exhibition
The purpose for which we call this meeting is to allow the elected council to:
- Receive an updated briefing, in open council or open committee of the whole, on proposed changes to current land use and planning controls;
- Discuss the potential social, environmental and economic impacts that the proposed changes will have on the City of Newcastle;
- Discuss the potential impact the changes will have on Newcastle’s scale, character, built form and heritage; and
- Discuss the potential implications of the proposed changes to Newcastle’s LEP and DCP in relation to Council’s responsibilities for implementing the new planning instruments.
The changes proposed in the draft amendment to the Urban Renewal SEPP will have a major impact on Newcastle’s planning instruments. The proposed changes include altering the controls in Newcastle’s LEP for building heights and FSRs throughout the city centre, most dramatically in the Hunter St mall area. These changes to the cityscape differ significantly from those outlined in the Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy 2012.
The draft amendment to the SEPP has been placed on public exhibition for only 16 days, draft changes to the DCP for one month. Council has never met to consider these documents.
The next scheduled ordinary meeting of council does not occur until Tuesday 25 March, which would preclude the elected council from having meaningful discussion and input into these very significant changes to our city’s character and future.
The state government has made much of its intention to consult the community in the strategic preparatory stages of the planning process. Furthermore, in the lead-up to the last election, Barry O’Farrell promised that local decisions would be returned to local councils. He said in 2011 “ NSW Liberal & National Parties are committed to returning local planning powers to local communities (through their councils). We believe that local residents – through councils – are best placed to make local planning decisions affecting their suburbs.”
The very late and very significant changes to the planning instruments governing Newcastle’s city centre have not been agreed to by the community or by their local representatives.
Cr Therese Doyle Cr Michael Osborne
cc General Manager