Planning controls have been weakened

Clive Shepherd led a team of concerned residents who fortunately were able to draw on considerable expertise to fight off Sunshine Coast Council approval of a 124-unit development within Twin Waters.
Clive Shepherd led a team of concerned residents who fortunately were able to draw on considerable expertise to fight off Sunshine Coast Council approval of a 124-unit development within Twin Waters. Patrick Woods

PLANNING controls were becoming weaker, limiting the avenues of objection even to matters which exceeded compliance with statutory documents, legal experts and environmental groups have claimed.

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland principal solicitor Jo-Anne Bragg said 25 years ago under the Local Government Planning and Environment Act a developer could not resubmit an application within a year of refusal.

Now there was no barrier to resubmission.

"If a community group participated in an appeal, then if a developer wanted to change a condition of the development approval that resulted from that appeal that group was automatically entitled to be a party to any decision,'' Ms Bragg said.

"Now such a community group needs to seek leave of the court to be included if the developer wants to change conditions.”

Planner Paul Summers, acknowledged as a key architect of the Noosa Plan, said Abacus had played a game of bluff acting as though it intended to pursue a defence of the council approval.

He said the council was weak in relation to its planning scheme.

"Noosa mayor Noel Playford used to say you either have a scheme or you don't,'' Mr Summers said.

"What are the messages if you act contrary to it.”

Mr Summers said in the case of the Abacus development there had been two objecting parties with both the money and good footing to challenge and approval that was contrary to the planning documents.

"Ordinary folk don't have either,'' he said.

Mr Summers said community benefit had to be clearly defined.

Where modifications to planning schemes occurred they should only be to suit an uncatered-for circumstance and, if done properly, should give nothing away.

Topics:  abacus, development, edo, jo-anne bragg, noosa plan, paul summers, planning schemes, sunshine coast council

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