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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Development Control Plans dumped

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I am not a fan of the NSW planning system. It is a mess, a system desperately in need of an overhaul.

We have had our first real insight into what the government intends doing to overhaul the system. First came the unsolicited and kind offer of James Packer to build a gambling nirvana on the shores of Sydney Harbour. The second event was a bill passed through parliament almost without notice and is of far greater concern to our little patch.

In the NSW Parliament on October 26 a bill passed called the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill 2012, which reduces, effectively removes, the legal role of development control plans (DCPs). They will only be a guide and all legal development control will now be invested in LEPs and state policies; so much for promised consultation from the NSW government.

This represents an open door for the big end of town and crass, small-minded developers to over-develop with ugly boxes without effective restraint. For Byron it might just be a return to a legal nightmare that existed here before our DCP was redrafted in 2002, when, because development controls weren’t clear, Council was perpetually in court, at great cost to the council and community.

Personally I think removing LEPs and what they represent may have been a better step. There will be a rapid return to the laws of the jungle; developments like the recent one on Station Street, Mullumbimby, will be norm, not the exception.

On a brighter note, development applications will probably require a sacrifice of fewer trees for the many reports normally required.

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