Cessnock Council Votes Against Huntlee Approval
In a significant decision last week Cessnock Council unanimously voted to recommend to the NSW Government that Stage 1 of the massive Huntlee development not be approved (Para 3, Executive Summary, CCC Submission).
Cessnock Greens Councillor James Ryan said ‘Council’s submission made clear that there are serious flaws with the planning of Huntlee.’
‘Council made the only decision it responsibly could considering the developers of Huntlee are only offering to contribute approximately half of the contributions to infrastructure which similar sized developments in the Sydney basin would attract.”
‘Councillors have been shown tables demonstrating the contributions offered by Huntlee developer at only $8166 per lot compared to comparable development contributing more than double that amount per lot.’ said Clr Ryan.
The Cessnock Council submission also points out that the Huntlee planning proposal does not comply with the NSW Department of Planning’s own policy for Precinct Planning.
Huntlee does not adequately identify land for infrastucture and proposes to use the riparian zones for both green corridors as well as recreation facilities.
The Council submission goes further than that.’ said Clr Ryan ‘ Councils submissions asks that the proposal is not assessed at this stage (Submission conclusion) and says “..premature approval of Huntlee Stage 1 Subdivision and infrastructure works will result in a subdivision pattern that does not provide the correct quantum or location of community facilities.”
Clr Ryan said ‘This is not only the position of Cessnock Council. Singleton Council have signed a joint letter with Cessnock Council which states:
“Both Councils remain very concerned over the Departments attitude and approach to Huntlee. There is an unfulfilled need to effectively plan and coordinate this important project for the Hunter.”
‘We have to remember the colourful history of Huntlee.’ Said Clr Ryan. ‘It is part of the land deals included in the Lower Hunter Regional Strategy by then Planning Minister Frank Sartor without any public notice of consultation. The comments of these Council underscore how poorly the Department of Planning has dealt with Huntlee.’
The Sweetwater Action Group has asked the Department to remove itself from assessing the Stage 1 Proposal.
‘The comments of both Cessnock and Singleton Councils add weight to the call for the Department to be removed as the assessing body and for suitably qualified planners from another State be appointed to conduct an assessment.’
See the Newcastle Herald coverage of this issue here