Tweed shire councillor Warren Polglase says changes to the planning system are “very confusing”.
Tweed shire councillor Warren Polglase says changes to the planning system are “very confusing”.

Planning power turmoil

CONFUSION surrounds the future of major Tweed developments, such as a $20 million car showroom and commercial office complex at Tweed Heads, with Tweed Shire Council uncertain who has the power to consider large development applications.

Veteran Tweed councillor and former mayor Warren Polglase has slammed the confusion, saying the new Coalition Government needed to get its act together.

Cr Polglase, who has previously been critical of joint regional planning panels (JRPP), said he believed the approval powers were to have been given back to councils and was surprised to hear otherwise.

He said he had understood “anything over $10 million was going to come back to councils”, apart from state-significant projects.

Cr Polglase questioned advice from the Premier's office that the panels would stay, saying it appeared “there's that much happening down there regarding planning” that some staff might be ill-informed.

Earlier this week new Premier Barry O'Farrell announced major reforms which would give approval powers for major projects back to local councils, but the Tweed council is still waiting for details.

A spokesman for the Premier's office said the panels were supported by the new government because they “allowed community input into planning decisions”.

A council spokesman said: “We have been advised it's business as usual for the JRPP at this stage.

“Therefore, the meeting for the BMW proposal will go ahead as planned next week.”



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