In a classic catch 22 example of a planning system of contradictions, the Independent Planning Commission has preferred to respect local character over a council’s proposal for development around a railway station, says the Urban Taskforce.
“Lane Cove Council has been proposing for some years that new housing development be located at St Leonards South, near St Leonards station, in what would seem to be a good example of Transit Oriented Development.” says Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson. “Generally the state government has supported proposals by local councils but in this instance the government’s Independent Planning Commission has dismissed the council’s proposal on the basis that the planning proposal did not respect the existing local character of the area.”
“The Urban Taskforce is concerned that a NSW Government planning document issued in February 2019 titled ‘Local Character and Place Guideline’ seems to promote a preferred suburban character with no buildings over 3 storeys high in the publication. We believe the government is sending signals to the community that a suburban character is better that an urban character, with taller apartment buildings. It would appear that the local community in St Leonards South have been encouraged by the government’s promotion of local character as being suburban, to argue against change even when their own council has proposed the new apartment precinct.”
“It seems that the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will have the final say on the St Leonards South precinct plan, but our concern is that their own documents promote the importance of local character over Transit Oriented Development around railway stations.”
“The Urban Taskforce supports Lane Cove Council’s sensible proposal to accommodate housing growth in a precinct adjacent to St Leonards Station and close to the proposed Crows Nest metro station. We are very concerned at a growing approach from planners in some councils and within the government to be promoting the respect of local character rather than providing a leadership role in where new more urban precincts should occur around railway stations.”
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