Cessnock Councillors back in the drivers seat – ABC Newcastle NSW – Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Cessnock Councillors back in the drivers seat
from ABC Radio – Newcastle 26.1.12
Cessnock Council has its full planning powers back, around 18 months after they were taken away.
The previous Labor Minister for Planning Tony Kelly stripped the council of its powers in August 2010 after concerns were raised about lengthy delays in determining development applications.
A Planning Panel that was put in place was yesterday disbanded.
Greens Councillor James Ryan says the move is long overdue.
“Planning decisions should be made by local Councillors on behalf of the local community so this is very good news,” he said.
“The onus is now on the Cessnock Councillors to make good, responsible decisions.”
He says it signals a fresh start for the council after several troubled years.
In the wake of a 2008 Inquiry the Council moved to rebuild its reputation after a series of scandals including alleged misconduct by former Rangers and Council Directors.
Councillor Ryan says he is optimistic about the future.
“Cessnock Council has had a rough trot, but the advantage of having your local councillors making decisions is that they are aware of local conditions.”