Drastic “modifications” which boost the size of developments – after consent has been given to smaller plans – are gaming the planning system, Greens MLC David Shoebridge said.
In an opinion piece published on the Mercury website, Mr Shoebridge said the Tallawarra and Calderwood developments showed contempt for the planning process as they got approval against strong community opposition, then removed key features such as open space, infrastructure or aged care villages.
“People are sick of being sold a dummy by the planning system in NSW, and rightly so,” Mr Shoebridge said.
“Local communities are shown attractive green developments, with open spaces and wild pockets. But what is ultimately built has more houses, more units, smaller lot sizes, more crowded facilities and no infrastructure to cope with the new demand.”
The Tullimbar development has a similar situation, with new owner the Dahua group angering residents by scrapping plans for a promised town centre and instead lodging plans for 37 new residential lots.
Mr Shoebridge called on planning authorities to enforce the conditions under which a development was approved – to ensure the community is not robbed of critical infrastructure needed to support the housing estates and their population.
“We need a planning system people can believe in,” he said.
“This means making developers stick to plans once they are approved. No creeping increase on housing yields, no cutting back on green open space and if you promise jobs and a retirement village, then deliver on that before bringing in thousands of new residents.”
At Tallawarra, Energy Australia got approval for a mixed-use development including retirement village, 360 ha of open space and industrial land, but sold the residential section to the Bridgehill group – who pushed to increase these from 1,010 to 1,480.
At Calderwood, Lend Lease has submitted a “modification” proposal to increase the number of housing lots from 4,800 to 7,000.