Who do you want to approve the building next door to you is the question being asked by the Local Government Association on behalf of Councils as the State Government looks to remove them from the system.
I ask you this question and ask you too to please respond. If you don’t chances are you will never get a say on that development next door.
The Government rightly is trying to streamline what must surely be viewed as an archaic system, to provide clarity and surety to a system so that those who have to work the system can do so with confidence. Developers and builders need a simpler, easier to understand set of planning rules and I say that without fear or favour, as an ex builder myself.
The Government rightly are looking at such initiatives that I applaud and that I have lauded for a long time, such as producing an electronic data based development plan. The current paper based plans are onerous to say the least, being very difficult to navigate. A data base system would allow anyone an opportunity to type their address in, no matter where they live or which Council area within they are located, and know instantly what development is allowable on their site.
The focus of the Government however appears to be however to remove Councils from as much of the process as possible and to limit your say as a neighbour.
As a builder I saw Councils as an impediment to running my business and I can say that my colleagues today feel the same way, having heard from many of them at a forum on this very topic last week run by the Housing Industry Association (HIA). I understand only too well now that the hurdles in my way where not the councils so much as the legislation that they have to operate under, legislation that is the province of course of the Government.
Watch out for subsequent posts on the involvement of council and councillors and also on your role but in the meantime I close by asking again who do you want to approve the building next door to you.