Complaint lodged over Albury zone delays

ALBURY-Wodonga consulting town planner James Laycock has made an official complaint to the NSW Government about a backlog of land rezoning applications sitting with the state’s planning department.

Mr Laycock lodged a complaint with planning and infrastructure minister Brad Hazzard last week and claimed the government was not delivering on an election promise of planning reforms.

They relate specifically to the speeding up of land rezoning applications and transferring decision-making to local councils.

On behalf of several clients, he is upset with the time taken to “gazette” two planning proposals in the Thurgoona-Wirlinga growth corridor in the Albury Council area.

They are the Fairway Gardens Estate in Thurgoona and a proposal for up to 2000 homes to be created on the southern side of the Riverina Highway between East Albury and Lake Hume.

The next stage of the Fairway Gardens Estate, which includes the proposed creation of more than 50 residential blocks, was approved by Albury Council in July last year and the Riverina Highway re-zoning was ticked off by council in December.

Mr Laycock said the state government needed to properly resource its planning department to deal with the backlog.

“It has got to the stage where a complaint has been made,” he said.

“I’ve never had to make a complaint like this before and I don’t take the decision lightly.

“When the state government doesn’t properly resource the implementation of one of its own policies it is a cause for concern.”

Mr Laycock has asked the minister to “investigate and intervene”.

One of the effects of the delay is increasing land prices, which makes it harder for people to enter the housing market.

“It could be rectified by properly allocating human resources,” he said.

“The state government is well intentioned with its policy to speed up land rezoning applications and transferring decision-making to local councils.

“But it needs to ensure its policies are properly resourced.”

Mr Hazzard’s office couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday.