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Developer’s haven in a heritage area, say Greens

According to the Green Paper, the zones will be characterised by “very little, if any, development controls providing they do not result in any significant adverse environmental impacts”. The Paper, which acts as a blueprint for future development, flags North Eveleigh, the land north of the railway lines between Redfern Station and Macdonaldtown, and backing onto Wilson Street, as a possible enterprise site.

But the limited regulation, and the inclusion of North Eveleigh as a possible enterprise zone, has angered the Greens, who have likened the conditions to a “developer’s haven” in a heritage area. “Whatever developers think will give them the biggest bang for the buck will be what drives development on this site,” said Greens MP David Shoebridge. “If this becomes an enterprise zone we will see all the beautiful heritage buildings under pressure of demolition.”

The zones have also been criticised for failing to promote community consultation and local input in the planning stages. The plan proposes greater upfront community involvement in regard to where development goes with less community input once these decisions have been made.

Greens Councillor Irene Doutney says these conditions will isolate North Eveleigh residents from the decision-making process. “The government, although it says it is putting the community back into planning, is actually removing the community from planning altogether. We’ve got to develop somewhere and this is a dead site … but it’s got to be developed in conjunction with the residents. It has to be balanced, it has to be appropriate, it has to be sustainable and you’ve got to do it with the residents, otherwise you’re constantly at war between the developers and the residents,” Cr Doutney said.

But while the enterprise zones have been strongly rejected by the Greens, state Labor has supported the idea and denied that the development would be completely regulation-free. “It’s not rules free, that’s easy for the Greens to say,” said the Shadow Minister for Planning, Linda Burney. Ms Burney also insisted that potential developers would try to foster positive relationships with the local community. “It would be silly for anyone to go in and develop in those zones without having a good relationship with the local community.”

The NSW government will receive feedback on the Green Paper this month. Once the government has received community feedback, a White Paper will be released, providing more details on future development and zoning rules.

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