This week, Council's Planning Committee unanimously endorsed a report prepared by City planners on proposed modifications to the two main commercial precincts at Barangaroo. If approved, the changes will see a 70 per cent increase in floor space at Barangaroo Central and Barangaroo South over the plans that were originally approved by the NSW Government in 2007.
Councillors agreed to request that the NSW Government have these proposals externally assessed by a qualified and experienced planning consultant or other independent body. We also agreed to ask the NSW Government to consider whether the proposed development is still substantially the same as what was approved in 2007, or whether subsequent changes have resulted in a different development that requires a new approval process.
The City believes there needs to be greater transparency and separation in the planning process for Barangaroo, as the NSW Government is both the land owner and approval authority for the site.
The current process for modifying the approved concept plan also lacks rigour and puts no limits on either the Minister's or the Planning Assessment Commission's ability to modify previous decisions. This brings significant governance risks, perceptions of planning bias and a lack of independent scrutiny of the development assessment.
The City will highlight these concerns in our submission to the proposals.