Minister overrules development

A Lismore council decision to refuse a DA for six units in Girards Hill on the grounds that they were not in keeping with the heritage values of the area has been over-ridden by the NSW Minister for Planning, Kristina Keneally.

The development application was lodged by the Office of Community Housing to build six self contained units but because the application was lodged by a state government body, council does not have the power to reject or impose conditions.

The decision by Minister Keneally has been criticised by the National Trust.

“The Trust believes that local councils are being placed in an impossible situation when government authorities that should set a good example in sympathetic design in Conservation Areas are being allowed to impose developments that would normally be rejected under the Lismore LEP,” National Trust spokesperson Scott Woodcock said. Mayor Jenny Dowell said she had written “a strongly worded letter” to the Minister requesting that they investigate an alternative site or reduce the bulk and scale of the current proposal.

She said they also requested conditions such as changing the materials from aluminium to weatherboard cladding or other more appropriate building materials and that it be painted in heritage colours.

But she said these were “tinkering around the edges” conditions and it was still up to the Minister as to whether she would accept them.


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