Former Kogarah councillors hit back at ‘arrogant’ decision on city plan

Disappointed: Former Kogarah councillors Nick Katris, Lachlan McLean and and Kathryn Landsberry. Picture: John Veage
Disappointed: Former Kogarah councillors Nick Katris, Lachlan McLean and and Kathryn Landsberry. Picture: John Veage

Former Kogarah councillors have been left disappointed and frustrated after the State Government overruled amendments made to the Kogarah new city plan.

The state government gazetted the Kogarah new city plan last month but with significant changes to height limits.

The proposed plan had been approved by Kogarah Council in April last year with reduced heights in Blakehurst, Carlton and South Hurstville.

Those changes were overridden by the state government with the Department of Planning reinstating building heights.

In a letter to Georges River Council the Department of Planning said the changes made by council weren’t supported or included because of a lack of evidence and because they would require re-exhibition of the LEP. 

Former Labor councillor Nick Katris called that explanation a furphy.

He said the department of planning had plenty of time both before and after the gateway determination to advise council that any changes would mean a re-exhibition.

He said most councillors voted to put the original proposal out on exhibition in 2014 because of density targets identified as part of the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy.

He said the worry was that if council did not put out the plan then the decision would be made for them.

‘’If we’re being accused of letting it go out in that form then they shouldn’t have let it go out in that form,’’  he said.

‘’That’s a bit of a furphy.’’

He said he was disappointed that none of the amendments put forward were accepted.

‘’The amendments made were not crazy. They were actually justified and good planning decisions especially along the Princes Highway,’’ he said.

‘’We didn’t think the department would do this kind of thing where they wouldn’t even consider one iota of those amendments.

‘’To turn around and say that we’ve considered the community objections in detail is a furphy.’’

Former Independent councillor Lachlan McLean said he had been against the plan from the beginning and was disappointed with the latest development.

‘’If no amendments are being adopted then why go through this entire process?’’ he said.

‘’It’s definitely disappointing but my disappointment started with the original plan.

‘’I was disappointed from the beginning and this just adds salt to the wounds.’’

Fellow former Labor councillor Kathryn Landsberry said she had been contacted by residents who felt let down.

‘’The amendments we did get through were a miracle since the other councillors voted in a block against most of them,’’ she said.

‘’It’s devastating that the department ignored us.

‘’It’s just the height of arrogance.’’

In an earlier statement Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts said the community’s interest has been carefully considered.

He referred further questions to the Department of Planning and Environment.

A departmental spokeswoman said it had consulted with council planning officers several times regarding its decision on the changes.

‘’The changes proposed by the former council differed significantly from the original proposal that was issued a gateway determination by the department to proceed to public exhibition,’’ she said.

‘’The proposed changes did not have strategic merit and differed from existing local and state housing and employment strategies.’’