The Independent Planning Commission’s rejection of the Ritz Carlton hotel development in Pyrmont represents a comprehensive failure to deliver planning decisions which serve the broad public interest of the people of NSW.
“After the State Government actively encouraged this development for over four years, the IPC decision to reject this hotel development is a blow to tourism, a blow to jobs and a blow to the sensible development of our city”, Mr Forrest said.
“The IPC rejected submissions that this proposal was a logical extension of Darling Harbour down the peninsular. The IPC has clearly not read any of the GSC’s planning documents. The ICC precinct is suffering from the sparsity of hotel availability and this proposal was part of the solution.
The IPC decision rejects the proposal because (in part), it says, it is not consistent with the Strategic Planning in the area.
“This is simply wrong. The GSC’s district Plan for Eastern Sydney published in its final form in March 2018 sets the strategic framework. It states on page 46:
‘The District’s many great places also include local neighbourhoods in leafy suburbs like Bellevue Hill and Strathfield, inner-city, mixed-use places around Potts Point and Surry Hills, and the city high-rise areas of Pyrmont and the Sydney CBD. Each offers its own identity and sense of place where social cohesion and belonging is fostered.’
“The District Plan establishes the Strategic merit for high rise development in this location. The IPC seems to be rejecting the Greater Sydney Commission’s vision for an extension of the city’s CBD into Pyrmont. This calls into question the very future of the IPC.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars of development investment and tourism revenue will be lost to the city of Sydney as a result of this decision. Worse, the future of our city is being held to ransom, and the IPC has simply given up and folded to a handful of local activists.
“The decision represents a complete lack of balance. The decision over emphasises local community concerns. Those concerns were driven by selfish NIMBY activists. The failure of the IPC to reject these concerns and to find a pathway forward after years of State Government encouragement for the development of this project is a disgrace.
“The Planning Department’s Report was also very disappointing, and this must be fed into to the Productivity Commission’s review of both the role of the IPC as well as their review into Planning in NSW.
“Confidence in the NSW economy is slipping, and the planning system is the bottleneck. This decision must be a catalyst for serious review and change.
“By putting the interests of NIMBYs before the financial future of our State the IPC has behaved like Hunters Hill Council. The IPC has failed the test of leadership as has let the community of Sydney down. The decision and its reasoning are simply not worthy of the leading non-judicial planning authority in the State”, Mr Forrest said.
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