Wollombi Valley Online
Wollombi Valley Online
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LEP (Local Environmental Politics)

Cessnock Council will be holding two public briefings in Wollombi Hall on Thursday 3 September 2009 and Sunday 6 September 2009. The documents are currently on display at Wollombi General Store.

Wollombi Valley residents may have recently received a pamphlet being circulated by The Greens Political Party claiming to enlighten us as to the "facts on the Cessnock LEP". Perhaps it should have been more correctly titled ‘observations or opinions', (of which there are numerous) rather than ‘facts' which would be most accurately defined as ‘things that are known to be true' (of which there are few).

It's hard to understand how they can believe that the E3 Environmental Zone is not really a conservation zone, but a rural zone. The following are just some of the developments that are allowed with consent in RU2 Rural Landscape, but prohibited in E3. There are numerous others.

Non-commercial agriculture, agricultural produce industries; animal boarding or training establishments; aquaculture; childcare centres; community facilities; dairies; farm forestry; group homes; health consulting rooms; neighbourhood shops; poultry farms; pubs; recreation facilities for tourists; restaurants; retail premises (primarily for tourists); roadside stalls; rural industries; sawmills; stock and sale yards, tennis courts.

The Greens have also misrepresented the Heritage Conservation provisions. Contrary to what their pamphlet says, development consent or written approval will be required when altering any existing building, work, relic, tree or place within a Heritage Conservation Area, not just items listed in Schedule 5 of the LEP. This includes making changes to the detail, fabric, finish or appearance of the exterior of an existing building. In such a case, the consent authority may also require a Heritage Impact Statement and/or a Heritage Conservation Management Plan to be prepared before granting consent.

The Greens leaflet contains a number of so called ‘facts' which are selective, open to challenge, misleading and which at the very least need much more clarification. We would prefer to await the public exhibition of the final version of Draft LEP 2008, whenever that might eventuate, and expect due regard will have been paid by Council Planners to State Environmental Planning Policy (Rural Lands) 2008, as well as the Report of the Independent Expert Panel December 2007 which conducted A Review of the NSW Heritage Act 1977.

Steve Annis-Brown
Local Environmental Plan Action Group on behalf of Wollombi Valley Progress Association.

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