Ground Hog Day in Cessnock

Media Release 22.2.13

Ground Hog Day in Cessnock

Despite last years local council election it seems nothing has changed in Cessnock.

This week Cessnock Councillors voted 10 – 1 to request the State Government  rezone land for a further 250 houses permanent residential houses in the middle of the vineyards despite having no strategic planning documents which supported the rezoning.   The Vintage Resort, which requested the rezoning,  already has approval for 522 permanent residential lots on addition to 445 tourist units along with an 18 hole golf course.

‘Council has commissioned expert reports in 2005 and again in 2008. Both these report recommended against the rezoning and most importantly said that the sustainability of the world renowned vineyard area would be put at risk by this type of activity.’

‘Even the NSW Government Planning Assessment Commission in 2009 determined the proposal was contrary to good planning and may prejudice the future viability of the vineyards as a tourist area.’

Cessnock Greens Councillor James Ryan said ‘It’s like watching the movie Ground Hog Day. The Councillors keep voting to rezone the land right in the middle of the vineyards for housing without being able to justify it.’

‘I am deeply concerned that the Cessnock Councillors may not understand that their role in making planning decisions is to do so on behalf of the whole community.’  said Councillor Ryan.

‘If Council was to treat any more applications for permanent housing in the vineyards equally, as it should,  then according to the logic  used this week, any landholder can apply to create a small town in the middle of our vineyard area and this Council will support them.   Pretty soon Pokolbin will be a suburb and we will have gone a long way towards destroying one of our great assets.’ said Councillor Ryan.

‘The community of Cessnock should know that their Councillors are making these decisions without  a thorough strategic plan and in my opinion without thinking ahead.’

‘I call on the State Government to once again have more common sense that the Council and to reject this proposal.’

James Ryan
0414 922 591

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