Chamber concerned about DLEP delay
The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has expressed concern about further delays in releasing the Draft Gosford Local Environmental Plan for comment.
Its public exhibition has been delayed beyond the expected release date after confirmation that the required Section 65 Certificate has still not been issued by the NSW Department of Planning.
"We understand that the new planning document has undertaken a complicated process, but there is a lot of concern in the business community that the exhibition of the new planning instrument is well overdue," Peninsula Chamber of Commerce president Mr Matthew Wales said.
"The Department of Planning is yet to formalise its legal advice on aspects of the plan and this has delayed the return of the document for council's consideration.
"The delays in this process have placed a number of important new developments and redevelopment proposals on hold as property owners and developers are unsure how the planning changes will impact on the development potential of their land.
"This is particularly so in the Umina Beach CBD where major new developments such as Coles and Woolworths are underway.
"Council is undertaking a strategic review of the way the Umina Beach town centre operates in terms of new development, parking, traffic flow and pedestrian movements.
"The outcome of this review will inform that preparation of the City Wide Development Control Plan that will accompany the new planning instrument.
"It is expected that the new DCP will update development and design guidelines that will influence the future of the town.
"Any delays in this process only fuels uncertainty and places many projects on hold."
According to Mr Wales, the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has made numerous submissions to council in the past as to the preferred development outcomes for Peninsula town centres.
He said chamber members were keen to discuss these issues once the draft planning instrument and new DCP were placed on exhibition.
"In relation to the Ettalong Beach town centre, our members are very concerned that council's new planning guidelines won't go far enough to kick start the stalled development of the CBDs," Mr Wales said.
"Unlike the Umina Beach town centre, Ettalong Beach is going through a tough time and it is important that council ensure that improved development controls are put in place to encourage redevelopment of much of the old commercial and retail building stock.
"Our concern is that the revised Draft Gosford Local Environmental Plan has been considerably altered from the document previously available last year.
"It is hoped that the councillors ensure that it is thoroughly tested and reviewed and that the community has the opportunity to provide constructive criticism when it is finally placed on exhibition.
"The Peninsula in particular cannot afford to miss out on getting the new planning controls right.
"It will be a long time before we have another opportunity to influence the outcome of our town centres in such a profound way."
Gosford Council's manager of integrated planning Mr Eddie Love told Peninsula News that the process of placing the Draft Gosford LEP on public exhibition is taking "a bit longer than anticipated".
"Unfortunately, council can't move ahead with the Draft Gosford Local Environmental Plan until we get permission from NSW Planning," Mr Love said.
"It is expected that this will be at least a few months away."
Mr Love said the Peninsula Urban Directions Strategy developed in 2005 encompassed a review of the way the main town centres of the Peninsula operate and would be used as a strategic basis for the Draft Gosford LEP.