PLANNING: Tweed Shire Councilor Ron Cooper is worried the delayed LEP changes will impact the state election in 2019.
PLANNING: Tweed Shire Councilor Ron Cooper is worried the delayed LEP changes will impact the state election in 2019. Scott Powick

Kingscliff's three-storey height limit set to be overturned

AFTER years of working on the Kingscliff Locality Plan, Tweed Shire Council's last-minute changes to include a three-storey height limit in Kingscliff could be its undoing, as the New South Wales Government looks to reject the amendment.

The council's 2017 decision to amend the shire's Local Environmental Plan to align height controls from 13.6m to three storeys, resulting in a ban on anything four storeys and above, is expected be rejected by the State Government because of a lack of public consultation.

If rejected, the LEP changes could expose Tweed Shire Council to "new, more generous provisions in the Medium Density Housing Code, which will commence on July 6," and could impact development on the Tweed's southern coast.

The council has written to the State Government for a deferral from the start of the new Medium Density Housing Code provisions, which has been provided to other NSW councils.

Despite the unwritten confirmation the planning proposal may be refused, the council's acting strategic planning and urban design coordinator, John Lynch, said staff were willing to resubmit the application.

"Council will consider a range of options to deliver the intent of the community in due course, which will include additional community consultation as part of that process," he said.

But councillor Ron Cooper, who ran on a platform at the 2016 council election to secure the three-storey height limit for Kingscliff, said he believed regardless of the deferral, the council's inability to consult properly with the community about the Kingscliff Locality Plan would "come down to a political fight" at the next state election.

"It's a reasonable thing for (the government) to say we need to do the consultation," Cr Cooper said. "But it'll come down to a political fight because I don't believe council will be able to get this done before the state elections next March.

"The implication is that the government would lose the seat. Before the end of this, council (consultation will) be done, but it will have this overlay of the political election coming through.

"Unless the State Government comes out and says that we need to get this certain thing right."

But Tweed MP Geoff Provest disagreed the housing code would cost him his seat at the next election.

"I'm disappointed that (the approval) hasn't happened, but the onus is on council to do the legitimate consultation," he said.

"Provided council can demonstrate they've had a legitimate consultation process, I would be guided by that. They've got to prove to state planners they will have legitimate consultation."

Labor candidate for Tweed Craig Elliot said he would go to the election supporting the three-storey height limit.

"My commitment is to retain the longstanding three-storey height limit across Kingscliff and similar Tweed coastal villages as a measure to protect our unique quality of life."

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