Tag Archives: overdevelopment

Labor & Liberal Councillors push Victoria Road rezoning and dismiss Department of Planning directive

Marrickville Greens – Media release

4 February 2015

The Marrickville Greens Councillors today expressed their grave concern at the decision by Labor and Liberal Councillors to dismiss a Department of Planning request to withdraw the proposal to rezone 18 hectares of industrial land to high density residential in the Victoria Road Precinct Marrickville, and to instead push the developer’s proposal by trying to arrange a lobbying meeting between the development consortium and the Department of Planning.

After considering the rezoning proposal for gateway assessment, the Department of Planning wrote to Marrickville Council to “request Council withdraw the planning proposal to incorporate the recommendations of the [Employment Lands] study and allow for further investigation of the strategic merit of retaining the Victoria Road industrial lands in the context of the broader local government area and subregion”

“I am very concerned that Councillors made a decision to push the interests of developers over the significant, clear and strong advice from the Department of Planning, Council’s own planners, and the conclusions of the Employment Lands Study,” said Greens Councillor Max Phillips.

“The Department of Planning’s response was crystal clear that the rezoning proposal developed by the consortium was flawed in multiple ways, would not get through the gateway process and that it should be withdrawn. Councillors have thumbed their nose at this directive and instead moved to help lobby for the developer’s high-rise plans.

“We have left the realm of genuine, logical debate, and entered the strange world where certain Councillors are actively trying to use their power to do favours for a development consortium. Residents should be very concerned.

“The resolution passed by Council 7-5 rejects the Department of Planning’s request to withdraw the rezoning proposal and requires Marrickville Council staff to arrange and facilitate a meeting between the development consortium and the Department of Planning.

“These Councillors are effectively forcing Council staff to act as lobbyists for a private developer. This creates a major conflict for Council’s planning staff whose assessment recommended rejection of the rezoning proposal.

“The Greens want Council to heed the request of the Department of Planning to withdraw the rezoning proposal and initiate its own review of the precinct with the broader community interest in mind.”

The vote on the resolution was:
For Gardiner, Tyler, Macri, Hanna, Woods, Iskandar, Barbar.
Against: Phillips, Leary, Brooks, Ellsmore, Haylen.

Contact: Cr Max Phillips 0419 444 916

Massive re-zoning of Victoria Road precinct gets fast-tracked

Marrickville Greens – Media Release

4 September 2014

Developers got their gold-plated wish granted by Marrickville Council last night, with a 6-5 vote to send a 18 hectare re-zoning proposal to the Department of Planning Gateway process, despite serious concerns being raised by planning staff and members of the community.

“The Greens are greatly concerned by the way this massive re-zoning is being fast-tracked without proper community consultation or important information made available to revise the proposal,” said Greens Councillor Max Phillips.

“After the vote, I overheard property owners talking outside the council chamber. One said to the other – “congratulations mate, you’ve just made a couple of million dollars”. This goes to show just how important re-zoning decisions are, the potential for huge windfall profits, and underlines why council should undertake proper and thorough processes.

“Re-zoning, all or part of this area is could bring some benefits and the greens support sustainable development and rejuvenation of the area.

“However, rather than taking a few more months to do proper consultation and revisions to the proposal, Labor, Independent and Liberal Councillors have opted to push a half-baked and greedy developer-driven proposal up to the Department of Planning.

“Councillors were given a 600 signature petition raising concerns about the project. The 600 signatures were gathered over only a few days as the issue went viral on social media, particularly among people concerned about the creative industries being squeezed out of the area by blocks of apartments.”

Contact: Cr Max Phillips 0419 444 916

Labor-Liberal Alliance on Marrickville Council continues

Marrickville Town Hall

Marrickville Town Hall

25 September 2013

Marrickville Council held its annual Mayoral vote last night and elected Labor advisor Clr Jo Haylen as Mayor. Labor Councillors voted with the Liberals to install Liberal Councillor Rosana Tyler as Deputy Mayor over the Greens’ candidate Councillor Melissa Brooks.

The deal continues a two year arrangement between the ALP and Liberals on Marrickville Council which saw the election of Conservative Victor Macri as Mayor in 2012 and the ALP’s Emanuel Tsardoulias as Deputy.

Greens Councillor and Marrickville Mayoral candidate Sylvie Ellsmore said: “Obviously we are disappointed that the Labor Party has once again made an arrangement with the Liberals to control Marrickville Council.

“We are particularly concerned that the Labor Party has delivered the Liberals not only the Deputy Mayoralty but also control of key committees which determine development and community programs.

“We are a progressive community and the community expects to be represented by a leadership team that shares its values.

“While the Greens on Marrickville Council are proud of what we have achieved as an effective opposition over the last 12 months, we have also seen a worrying pro-developer and anti-community agenda develop under the Labor-Liberal alliance.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of large developments approved that exceed Council planning rules – including the recent decision to fast track a 16 storey tower at Marrickville Station in an area zoned for 8 storeys – and an increase in the number of “closed” Council meetings to discuss development applications and changes to million dollar Council projects.

“When the community gets organised to object to these decisions, petitions signed by hundreds and in some cases thousands of residents are rejected by the Labor and Liberal Councillors who think they know best what the community actually wants or needs.

“This is not the Marrickville Council that residents expect. There was a time when ALP Councillors would be mortified by the idea of forming an alliance with the conservatives. Sadly today “Local Labor” would rather work with the Liberals than the Greens.”

“While it was a disappointing outcome last night, it has made the Greens even more determined to continue to provide the progressive voice on Council. The residents know they can rely on the Greens to be that voice,” said Clr Ellsmore.

Media contact: Greens Councillor for North Ward, Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213

Marrickville Green Councillors Max Phillip, Sylvie Ellsmore, Max Phillips and Melissa Brooks, following the first Council meeting in 2012. The Greens have been an effective opposition to Labor and the Liberals over the last 12 months.

Marrickville Green Councillors Max Phillip, Sylvie Ellsmore, Max Phillips and Melissa Brooks, following the first Council meeting in 2012. The Greens have been an effective opposition to Labor and the Liberals over the last 12 months.

The Greens on Marrickville Council have four elected Councillors. There are four Labor Councillors, two Conservatives Independents and two Liberals.

In the lead-up to the Mayoral vote the Greens had approached the Labor Councillors about the possibility of establishing a progressive leadership team on Council.

Following the Mayoral vote last night the ALP and Liberal Councillors voted to exclude the Green Councillors from the leadership of the powerful Community and Corporate Services Committee and the Infrastructure, Planning and Environmental Services Committee. Previously the Greens had held the Deputy positions on these committees.


The four Green Councillors remain represented on the community based committees which report to the Community and Corporate Services Committee and the Infrastructure, Planning and Environmental Services Committee.

Greens Slam Fast Track of Marrickville High Rise Tower

Media Release 19 September 2013


The Greens have today condemned the ALP controlled Marrickville Council for its decision
to give the “Green light” to a developers outrageous proposal to building a 16 storey high rise
apartment tower in Marrickville.

Proposed 16 Storey Tower next to Marrickville Station, currently zoned for 8 storeys maximum.

Proposed 16 Storey Tower next to Marrickville Station, currently zoned for 8 storeys maximum. Image as published in 17 September 2013 Marrickville Council papers.

The planning proposal put to Marrickville Council on Tuesday night proposes the construction of a 16 storey building with 120 residential apartments and ground floor retail outlets at 2-18 Station street and 1 Leofrene Ave Marrickville.

In exchange for councils support of the proposal and council selling the developer the road in Station street, the developer has proposed a voluntary planning agreement which does little more than provide for a public forecourt outside the building, a few park benches some trees and some road works.

“This proposal is totally unreasonable, is totally outside what the current planning regulations allow and is not supported by local residents.” said Greens Councilor David Leary.

“Marrickville’s Local Environment Plan only allows buildings to a maximum of 26 metres in this area and this development involves a building of 59 metres, or more than double the height allowed. It also dramatically exceeds many other planning controls” highlighted Clr Leary

“There is no real public benefit from this development. Instead local residents will be stuck with a 16 storey high rise apartment right next door to their homes, massive overshadowing, extra traffic and major disruption during construction” noted Clr Leary.

“I am totally gobsmacked that the Mayor, Labor Councillors and the Liberal Party would all combine to vote to give the ‘green light’ to this proposal without even stopping to think about its impact on the community. It seems to me these councilors think their role is to look after the interests of property developers rather than local residents” said Councilor Leary.

“The Greens voted against this proposal and will work with the community to fight this hideous over-development” explained Councilor Leary

The vote on Tuesday night now means the proposal will be rushed to the Department of Planning with the endorsement of council to proceed through the “Gateway Process” which fast tracks approval.

Media contact: Clr David Leary 0409 421 323 dleary@marrickville.nsw.gov.au

Greens move urgent action for residents on planning reforms

Marrickville Council this week voted in favour of an urgent Greens motion to inform residents about the State Government’s plans to radically overhaul planning laws.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said, “The State Government has released a White Paper and draft legislation which will radically change the way that developments are assessed. The changes would remove most existing rights for residents to be notified or have a say over development in their local area.

“The State Government has set a target that 80% of development is to be fast tracked or “code assessed” under the new system, meaning residents will not be notified of developments or have any real powers to object, even to high rise development,” said Clr Ellsmore.

“Environmental and heritage considerations are also being watered down, with a stronger emphasis on “economic development” and the interests of developers.

Clr Ellsmore said, “The proposals are being sold by the State Government as increasing community participation because they give residents a say at the early, high-level “strategic” stage.

“What is being lost is the right for residents to object or even be notified down the track, when a development application is put in. The State Government knows this is actually the stage when most residents want to get involved – when there is a specific development being considered for their street,” said Clr Ellsmore.

“These draft Planning Act Bills were released amidst a flurry of State Government White Papers last month, including information about proposed amalgamations, and residents have only a few weeks left to have a say,” said Clr Ellsmore.

“The Greens are concerned that the Liberal Government wants to implement these complex and wide reaching changes as soon as possible, before residents have a real chance to learn about the reforms and respond.

“The new laws have the potentially to radically change the face of our local areas. I am proud that Marrickville Council voted to adopt the Green’s motion for Council to undertake an urgent information program for residents,” she said.

The Greens are organising and supporting community groups to organise public forums, including at Redfern Town Hall on Monday 27 May 2013.

The ALP and Conservative Councils voted to remove the commitment for Marrickville Council to hold public forums on the planning changes, when the Greens Notice of Motion was passed. Neighbouring Councils such as the City of Sydney and Leichhardt have previously organised or voted to support public forums on the issue.

Media contact:            Greens Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213

A copy of the Notice of Motion is below:

Notice of Motion – Urgent Consultation on Planning Reforms 

That Council:

  1. Notes that the State Government released the White Paper: A New Planning System for NSW on 16 April 2013, which will significantly overhaul planning laws and radically alter the process for development assessment;
  1. Notes that public submissions on the White Paper and two draft Bills close on 28 June 2013 and that the State Government’s Sydney information session for the public is already full;
  1. Urgently organises a public information forum for forums or local residents to provide an overview of the White Paper: A New Planning System for NSW and what it could mean for residents’ future input into planning decisions;
  1. Urgently develops and implements a public information strategy to inform residents about the proposed reforms and encourage them to make a submission; and
  1. Calls on the NSW Government to ensure there is at least 6 months of public consultation on the planning reform White Paper.


On 16 April, the NSW Government released the White Paper – A new planning system for NSW for public feedback (http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/a-new-planning-system-for-nsw).

The White Paper and Draft Exposure Bills would radically reshape planning laws. The proposed changes include:

  • 80% of all development in NSW assessed as ‘complying’ or ‘code assessment’ development with no community consultation and limited environmental assessment;
  • removal of key zoning to protect sensitive environment or heritage areas;
  • a presumption in favour of a right to develop and significantly increased appeal powers for developers;
  • substantial removal of the power of local Councils to oversee development;
  • substantial increase in powers for the NSW Minister for Planning to override Council plans which have been developed in consultation with the community; and
  • removal of the principle of Ecologically Sustainable Development from planning legislation – amongst others.

Overdevelopment and loss of heritage remains one of the top 5 issues of concern for local Marrickville Council residents.

When the Planning Green Paper was released in 2012 Marrickville Council raised urgent concerns about the direction of the reforms, particularly the removal of opportunity for meaningful community consultation. See a copy of Council’s submission to the NSW Government on the Green Paper, dated 25 September 2012, on the Council’s website.

Council also put a motion to the 2012 Local Government Association Conference:

(a) That the State Government ensures that the new Act genuinely achieves the stated objectives of the Green Paper and does not include mechanisms that enable the development industry to avoid proper planning assessment by councils via rezonings in subregional plans;

(b) That the new Act provides that individual Council’s determine the membership and terms of reference of any IHAP established to evaluate development applications in-lieu of elected Councillors;

(c) That the new Act does not diminish the level of community consultation that occurs as part of land use planning; and

(d) That the new Act does not facilitate the expansion of certification of development to merit based matters or in sensitive areas such as heritage conservation areas.

Marrickville Council’s submission, along with many similar concerns raised by other Local Council, have been ignored in the White Paper.

Marrickville Council has recently embarked on a major information and consultation program in relation to proposed reforms to Local Government, which were also released in April 2013.

The proposed planning reforms are just as significant – and are even more urgent, given that there is already draft legislation developed.

The changes are very complex and require easy to understand information needs to be developed so that residents understand what it could mean for them and their Council.

It is essential that Marrickville Council informs the community about these proposed reforms and facilitates residents having a real say on changes.

Public Forum on Planning Reforms – Redfern 27 May 2013

Join local residents and Greens at a public forum on Monday 27 May 2013 about plans to radically overhaul the State’s planning laws. Your current right to comment on DAs will be removed for 80% of developments including many high-rise. Come and hear about how these changes will affect and how to have your say!

Monday 27th May, 6:30pm

Redfern Town Hall, 73 Pitt St Redfern

Guest Speakers

  • Nature Conservation Council
  • Better Planning Network
  • David Shoebridge MLC, Greens planning spokesperson
  • Ron Hoenig MP, ALP Member for Heffron
  • Brad Hazzard, Planning Minister (invited)

This meeting follows a well-attended meeting on the Planning Green Paper last year and it aims to help people in the community get an early understanding of the issues raised by the White Paper and the Draft Legislation (they differ in some key respects).

Please spread the word of this forum as the new system proposes to take away key protections in the current planning act. This includes precautionary principles and residents rights to comment on Development Applications in up to 80% of developments. The new planning system proposes instead that the community will be involved in preparing the regional and local planning controls years in advance of developments and will no longer need to comment on most developments in their area because they had the opportunity to have their say in regional planning!

Labor-Liberal Alliance votes against community consultation on planning

Media release 9 April 2013

Labor-Liberal alliance votes against community consultation on Planning Agreements

The Labor and Liberal Councillors and Marrickville’s Conservative Mayor Victor Macri have voted against notifying the community before Council decides to enter into negotiations with a developer for a Voluntary Planning Agreement.

Greens Councillor Max Phillips said: “The Greens have consistently fought for the right of the community to be informed when Council is considering entering into a Voluntary Planning Agreement with a developer.

“Last week the Greens moved to insert protections for community consultation into a new draft policy, which will guide how Marrickville Council negotiates “Voluntary Planning Agreements” (or ‘VPAs’) with developers.

“The Labor-Liberal Alliance on Council instead voted to approve the draft policy with only the bare-bones requirements for community notification required under the current law,” he said.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said: “The draft policy and the current law mean that Council can negotiate a VPA which would breach planning standards with a developer in secret. Council could then enter into the agreement without even putting the agreement out for public consultation or notice – if the Council feels it is not “practical” to do so.

“Mayor Macri and the Labor-Liberal Alliance are misleading the community if they claim that this draft policy will ensure community consultation about VPAs,” Clr Ellsmore said.

The Labor, Liberal and Conservative Business Independent Councillors last month voted down a similar Motion by Green’s Councillor Max Phillips which would have ensured a presumption in favour of transparency when planning agreements are being considered. At the same meeting those Councillors voted to sanction Councillor Phillips for notifying the community in December that Council would be debating an offer by Meriton to massively exceed their development approval, in exchange for millions in cash, through a VPA.

“Planning decisions should be made in public. The Greens urge residents to contact their local Councillor to let them know that residents don’t want to be kept in the dark about important development decisions,” said Councillor Phillips.

Media contact: Greens Clr Max Phillips 0419 444 916 and Greens Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213

Infrastructure, Planning and Environmental Services Committee Meeting 2 April 2013

Item 6 – Draft Voluntary Planning Agreements Policy 


  1. That Council resolve to publicly exhibit the draft VPA Policy for 28 days.

Greens amendment – Moved Clr Phillips, Seconded Clr Ellsmore

  1. The draft VPA Policy be amended prior to exhibition to include:
    1. The insertion of a section on community consultation which outlines how and when the community will be involved and consulted;
    1. Confirmation that the general nature of a voluntary planning agreement be made clear to the public as part of the publicly available business paper, when the elected Council is deciding whether or not to enter into negotiations;
    1. Confirmation that where a voluntary planning agreement involves any significant exceedance of planning regulations or Council’s policies or plans or involves a substantial decision that affects Council infrastructure or services, that the general nature of the above be made public and that public consultation occur to inform Councillor’s prior to a decision to enter negotiations;
    1. Confirmation that any confidentiality relating to a voluntary planning agreement be restricted only to specific information when confidentiality is required under legislation or regulations, and that the reason for confidentiality is clearly articulated and justified to Councillors and the public, and that where an item is considered confidential, every reasonable efforts will be made to provide a public version of Council papers which omits any confidential details, but still allows the community to be informed about the general terms of the proposed voluntary planning agreement.
    1. Amendment of existing sections, including the VPA flowchart, to indicate clearly to the community and developers the points at which the community will be involved and consulted.
    1. Insertion of a requirement that the time and location of any meetings held between a developer and any Councillor and/ or staff be recorded in a ledger which is publicly available.

Also available on the Council website www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au

Council Meeting 19 March 2013

Item 6 – Green’s Notice of Motion: Transparency in Dealing with Voluntary Planning Agreements


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