JRPP approves contentious Inglis/Newmarket rezoning proposal after Previous Minister bypasses Randwick Council opposition – 9th May 2014

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Last Wednesday the JRPP (Joint Regional Planning Panel) approved the contentious Inglis/Newmarket rezoning proposal along Barker Street in Randwick to allow potentially more units than what Randwick City Council would accept on the site.

The contention has partly been caused by the previous Planning Minister’s decision to pass the proposal to the JRPP in order to bypass a previous complete refusal to rezone by the Council back in 2011.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson, who is also a JRPP member, opposed the majority decision by the Panel and said afterwards,

“The Government’s referral of the Inglis proposal to the JRPP was a deliberate decision by the previous Minister to bypass a local Council in direct refutation of the Coalition’s election promise to return planning powers back to the community. ”

Councillor Matson stated that he felt that:

“Randwick Council has been bludgeoned by the Government into accommodating this unwanted density increase on a site bordering three schools and a hospital which currently compete to use the already congested Barker, Botany and Avoca Streets.”

Councillor Matson says that his reading of the relevant legislation now means that the new Minister must now exhibit a “draft local environmental plan” (or LEP) for public comment. He elaborated,

“The consultation to date on the Inglis/Newmarke rezoning proposal has been based on very ambiguous information from the proponent. In the end two different options were presented to the JRPP members for consideration. I call on the new Minister to thoroughly commit to the spirit of the full consultation process that should accompany the preparation of any new planning instrument.”

Randwick Council’s objection to the Inglis proposal is long standing with the Greens under Councillor Matson having successfully moved to block the original proposal in December 2011.

That December 2011 meeting had its own contention because of an absence by then Liberal Councillor Bruce Notley-Smith while the other then Liberal Councillors were forced to absent themselves from the vote after declaring conflicts of interest. It was left to the Greens and the Labor party to oppose the rezoning proposal as it was then.

Councillor Matson is one of two community representatives on the 5 member JRPP.