Minister seeks Calderwood assurance from council

Planning Minister Brad Hazzard has taken the unusual step of writing to Shellharbour City Council asking it to ‘‘justify’’ its proposed development contributions plan, in the wake of the Land and Environment Court’s decision to approve the first stage of the controversial Calderwood Urban Development Project.

The council is due to adopt its proposed Section 94 plan at tonight’s council meeting. Mr Hazzard wrote to the council  requesting it demonstrate that the court’s decision of August 15 on development contributions for Calderwood had been taken into account. The council was strongly opposed to Lend Lease’s plans for the 4800-dwelling development west of Albion Park.

Mr Hazzard said the judgment set the amount for  contributions for residential dwellings in stage one of the development and included guidance on how contributions should be calculated for the remainder of the 700-hectare Calderwood site.

“As a party to the court proceedings, I want to be absolutely certain that any local infrastructure contributions plan adopted by Shellharbour City Council is prepared in accordance with the court decision,” Mr Hazzard said.

“The Calderwood site will play a key role in providing much-needed housing for the Shellharbour local government area, with a concept plan approved for around 4800 homes across the site,” Mr Hazzard said.

A council spokeswoman said the Section 94 report would remain on the council’s agenda for tonight’s meeting and issues surrounding the court’s decision were dealt with in the report. Proposed contributions for Calderwood fell from $18,265 in the initial draft plan to $14,298 in the wake of the court decision with 231 residential lots proposed for stage one.

At issue is whether costs for facilities identified should be spread over the full 4800 dwellings proposed for Calderwood by 2036, or as Shellharbour Council maintains, spread across the number of dwellings expected within the life of the Section 94 plan, which ends in 2028.

The council argues only 855 dwellings will be constructed in Calderwood by 2028. Development levies for greenfield sites – and the council argues Calderwood is one – are capped at $30,000.

The council said the court’s decision on how contributions would be for stage one was made in the absence of an adopted Section 94 plan or other planning agreement.

The council said the ‘‘guidance’’ provided by the court would have ‘‘much greater weight’’ if it were to be applied to a Voluntary Planning Agreement that covered the whole of the Calderwood development.

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