Feb 2nd, Letter to Clover

posted 27 Feb 2012, 04:27 by Friends of Erskineville   [ updated 8 Mar 2012, 13:51 ]

2 February, 2012

Ms. Clover Moore MP

Lord Mayor

City of Sydney

GPOBox 1591

Sydney New South Wales 2001


Dear Lord Mayor

DCP Ashmore Precinct, Erskineville

As you are aware, the above referenced DCP is currently out for public comment with

submissions due by 29 February, 2012 - and I thank you sincerely for that intervention and

extension as a result of my submission on behalf of the Friends of Erskineville (FOE) requesting

a later final submission date.

FOE is committed to providing Council with a well-documented and reasoned submission for

consideration, and that work and research has already commenced. In addition, at this time it is

planned to hold a public meeting on the issue at the Erskineville Town Hall on the night of

Wednesday 22 February, 2012 to further gauge public reaction to the DCP.

However there is both confusion and concern surrounding this entire process and I am writing to

yourself to request advice concerning Council's attitude to this matter given recent events. As

background I set out our understanding of the present situation:

• In 2010 the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI) directed the city to

exhibit planning controls that significantly increased the density and height of proposed

construction on the two sites - commonly known as Goodman and Leighton - in the

Ashmore precinct.

• Council received over 500 submissions objecting to the increases directed by the DPI

• On 19 September, 2011 Council unanimously accepted and agreed a Lord Mayor's

Minute supporting the controls originally endorsed by Council and the Central Sydney

Planning Committee in September and October 2010 prior to the DPI directive

• On 13 October, 2011you personally wrote to Planning Minister Hazard (BH) to advise

him of the Mayoral Minute and of the work that the city had carried out to assess the

impact from increased planning controls

• On 16 November, 2011 BH responded to you under reference 11/18816 acknowledging

the Mayoral Minute; noted that the Minute supported planning controls originally

proposed by Council; and acknowledging the considerable public interest that the DPI

directive generated. BH undertook to consider Council's views before making a decision

on the DCP.

• It is our understanding that no decision has yet been made by DPI in relation to

acceptance of the DCP for Ashmore.

• It is our further understanding that the present Local Environment Plan (LEP) is being

reviewed, though the proposed building heights and space ratios suggested for the LEP

are the same as those which are in the present DCP. However it is also noted that the

LEP overrides any DP and that the LEP is yet to be finalized and go through the

acceptance process with DPI. As a result, whilst there is good intent, it is by no

means certain that the controls as planned for the LEP will be accepted, and this

will in turn affect the DCP.

• An article in the Sydney Morning Herald last week quoted BH on the matter of

development, and indicated BH intended to exercise part 3A powers over major

developments which is a direct contravention to the present government's election

promise to rescind use of Part 3 A by the DPI.

• Last night - 1 February, 2012 - a report was aired on the Channel 7 6.30 pm news

showing councils in the Penrith area rejecting any further development as the public

transport infrastructure was not available to cater for such an additional population -

exactly the same situation that exists with the Ashmore DCP I might add. That report also

had an interview with BH, and it appears that the State government has written to

developers requesting advice as to where they would like to develop and advising them to

submit plans, and such developments will be decided upon by a committee based in the

Premier's department. This would appear to be a use of Part 3A on a very large scale.

The report clearly appeared to indicate that there would be no room for Councils to

make a decision on such developments and all decisions and approvals would rest

with this committee in the Premier's department.

You will no doubt appreciate from this background and from the report on television last

evening, a great deal of confusion now exists surrounding this process.

In particular residents and FOE are concerned about the following:

• We are being asked to comment on a DCP that as yet has not been accepted by DPI and

therefore, on that basis, would appear to not as yet be a firm plan and is a plan which is

capable of being overridden by DPI

• The comment and report on last evening's news would appear to not only endorse the

fear that DPI can override the DCP, but also appear to take all control of a development

such as Ashmore away from Council and place it in the hands of a committee in the

Premier's department.

• As a result of these actions die following questions are being asked of us - "are we caught

in the middle of a power struggle/play between Council and the DPI?" - and - "are

people and associations making submissions on the DCP wasting their time and effort

given the degree of uncertainty that surrounds this entire process?"

Let me assure you that FOE will make a submission in relation to the DCP as we believe it vital

that views are placed on record. However, we would be most appreciative if you could please

by return state Council's policy/attitude to proceeding with the DCP given that it has not as

yet been accepted by the DPI, and in particular Council's reaction to the television news of

last evening and the removal of powers into the Premier's department and what action

Council intends to combat that move.

I thank you in advance for your co-operation and look forward to your response by return mail so

that matters can be clarified with residents that are now more alarmed than ever concerning the

Ashmore development. I would also add that should you wish to discuss this matter face to face I

am available at your convenience.

Yours sincerely

Mike Hatton OAM