Huntlee process questions law

Huntlee process questions law

08 Nov, 2011 10:11 AM
A COURT of Appeal case, aimed to revive a massive housing subdivision on the Singleton shire boundary, has ignited a dispute over New South Wales development laws.LWP Property Group, has appealed against a Land and Environment Court decision which overturned state government approval for its $1.2billion Huntlee proposal, a 7500-lot subdivision near Branxton.

Three Supreme Court judges heard appeal evidence on Friday and are expected to take up to two months to decide the issue.

In a press release to coincide with the appeal, LWP’s managing director Danny Murphy said: “It’s important to remember the merits of the Huntlee project have never been questioned.”

Mr Murphy said the Land and Environment Court decision was based on two legal points which, he believed, his company had a strong case against.

But James Ryan, a spokesman for the Sweetwater Action Group which has twice in as many years launched successful Land and Environment Court action to halt Huntlee, said Mr Murphy was being “disingenuous and irresponsible”.

“He is trying to convey the impression that opponents of his development have some narrow legal argument because the merits have not been challenged,” Mr Ryan said.

“In fact the law prevents us from challenging this destructive subdivision on its merits when we’d love to do just that and have put a submission to the state government asking for the law to be changed so the merits can be debated in court.

“We want the truth of Huntlee’s environmental impact put before a judge so they could examine why 100 hectares of bushland have to be destroyed, why a critically endangered plant has to be pushed to possible extinction and the absolute lack of wisdom to allow 20,000 people to live in a spot that state government planners said was the least desirable subdivision place in the Hunter.”

In response to an Argus inquiry yesterday Mr Murphy said the Land and Environment Court could only address matters of process.

“Merits are addressed as part of the state government’s assessment and everyone has an opportunity to raise issues of merit,” he said.

“As far as the opponents calling for changes to the legislative process, that’s a matter for them.”

Mr Murphy told The Argus before his appeal that he would press ahead with Huntlee regardless of the appeal’s outcome.

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