Liberals and developer Lord Mayor McCloy treat Newcastle with contempt
You might not know it, but there are some very drastic changes about to happen to Newcastle’s planning controls. Indeed, many of the controls that keep our city liveable, and guard it’s character will be significantly relaxed. High-rise buildings in the centre of the city and much greater building densities will now be permissible in areas like the Hunter Street Mall, other parts of the East End and Civic.
The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure has placed two key documents on display. They are a Draft State Environment Planning Policy (Newcastle City Centre 2014 and Newcastle Development Control Plan (DCP) 2012 Amendment Newcastle City Centre. They are quite complex documents that refer to maps that are difficult to access and cloak the real changes that are proposed in a lot of fancy jargon. You could even be forgiven for thinking that these changes mean grate things are in store for Newcastle if we only allow the big developers to unleash its true potential!
You have to look carefully to realize what the changes are going to mean for the whole social, environmental and cultural character of this city. Its heritage is particularly under threat by these changes, even though the draft plans claim that heritage is protected.
There are several alarming facts about the exhibition of these documents:
- The public were given only 16 days to comment of make submissions on the proposals
- The proposals will result in major changes to Newcastle City Council’s key planning instruments – the Local Environment Plan (LEP) and the Development Control Plan (DCP) for the city centre (these set out all enforceable planning restrictions and land use)
- The elected Council of Newcastle City Council, which has responsibility for overseeing these planning controls, has not even had a full council meeting to discuss these changes.
Newcastle Greens Councillors on Newcastle City Council have made a call for an Extraordinary Council meeting to allow the elected Council to fulfil its obligations to the people of Newcastle and have a full and public discussion of the likely impacts of these changes to our planning rules.
Read the full letter to the Mayor calling for an extraordinary meeting of Newcastle City Council here.