Hopes of clawing back planning powers

PLAN POWER: Noosa Council is keen to win back is planning control.
PLAN POWER: Noosa Council is keen to win back is planning control. Lucy Cantori

NOOSA'S local lawmakers may be about to win back a greater say on the look and feel of development approvals.

In August, Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington sounded a warning that private building certifiers were able to bypass councils for some approval permits after changes to state planning.

The concern then was that the council may be locked out of a say altogether for work such as house extensions or alterations, or just made a concurrence agency with a say on site cover and setbacks only. This was after the Brisbane City Council lost a court appeal over a proposed alteration to a house in declared "character area” in Wooloowin, which locked it out of the decision process.

Cr Wellington said at the time: "the ongoing and systematic undermining of local government authority to determine planning issues is a matter of grave concern”.

However the council's planning and environment manager Kerri Coylehas told councillors since that ruling, Noosa council officers have been part of talks with the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and representatives of private building certifiers.

The Local Government Association of Queensland has also made a submission to the department seeking urgent amendments to planning legislation to "generally return the status quo for building works assessable against planning schemes”.

"The department is yet to formally advise councils on their intentions in respect to this matter, but indications are that legislative amendments will be undertaken to return the ability for council's to regulate locally important matters,” Ms Coyle said.

Ms Coyle said that a further judgment has come out in the Planning and Environment Court which "does throw a different light on the interpretation”.

She is getting legal advice, but "potentially it's better news than where we sit today”.

Cr Wellington said it is pleasing to see that the Government is trying to do something about this situation.

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