Long Legal supports live music venues.

Long Legal supports live music venues.

Public discussion has ramped recently about the livelihood of the Newcastle live music scene. Well-known figures from the Australian music scene have stepped forward to voice their concern for the live music culture that put Newcastle on the map. Going from a time when there were more than 20 live music venues operating on, or near, Hunter Street as many as four nights a week, nowadays finding live music is like finding a guitar pick in a haystack. Newcastle is growing as a city which is great news for the economy, but at the same time, the live music scene is in decline. With residential developments popping up next to the most well-known live music venues like The Cambridge, The Wickham Hotel and The Lass, the city risks losing the very qualities that bring people here. Newcastle-grown guitarist Grant Walmsley (Screaming Jets) attributes his three-decade career to Newcastle’s live entertainment scene. “People love to talk about The Screaming Jets, people love to talk about Silverchair,” he said. “They love to talk about success stories, but the only reason any of us were successful is because we have had a live music scene.” It is not only the cultural side of Newcastle at risk, employment for locals is also of concern. The Wickham Hotel is one of a handful of live entertainment venues still operating and employs 18 staff in the hotel. Owner Marcus Wright says live entertainment was linked to these jobs, not only staff jobs, but also those up on stage performing. Newcastle City Council is currently developing an After Dark policy to create a “safe and vibrant” night time economy for...
What are IHAPs you ask?

What are IHAPs you ask?

Due to recent changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, independent hearing and assessment panels (IHAPs), will become mandatory for councils in the Greater Sydney Region and for Wollongong Council from 1 March 2018. What are IHAPs you ask? IHAPs are panels of independent experts that determine development applications on behalf of a council and provide advice on other planning matters. The idea behind IHAPs is to reduce the risk of conflicts of interest and corruption. By ensuring decisions are made by individuals independent of developers, decisions will be made on the basis technical merit and benefits for the area. With the introduction of this panel of individual experts, local councils can focus on strategic leadership in the planning system. Under the new provisions of the Act, councillors in Sydney and Wollongong will no longer be able to determine development applications. This function will be performed by either the IHAP, council staff, or the relevant regional panel. Each IHAP will consist of: A Chair and two expert members (all must be qualified in planning, architecture, urban design, economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism or government and public administration). A community representative (to be chosen by council and does not have to be an expert in one of the above fields). Councillors, property developers and real estate agents cannot be IHAP members. The recruitment process to become an IHAP member is a state-wide, merit-based process. Long Legal’s Grant Long has recently been approved for appointment as an independent expert to an...
Not objecting proposed developments can narrow your options.

Not objecting proposed developments can narrow your options.

Every so often we receive a letter in the post from the local council advising that a development is proposed next door and that you may lodge a submission. Whilst it may be tempting to throw such a letter into the bin, this would severely limit your options should you wish to object to the development further down the track. Current planning policy is seeking to increase residential densities as well as increasing affordable housing stock. This means that planning controls are now permitting higher density residential developments in what have been traditionally low density residential suburbs. If a development is proposed next door that could have a negative impact on the amenity of your property, then it is essential that you use the opportunity to lodge an objection with the council prior to any decision being made. The reason why not objecting proposed developments can narrow your options is: Following the issuing of a development consent, the only option to challenge that decision is by way of judicial review in the Land and Environment Court. This means that you would have to prove that there has been a serious legal error in the decision-making process. There are also significant costs in running such a case.  It would usually be the case that if you lose, you would have to pay the other side’s costs. The other problem with judicial review is that is does not consider any of the merits of the proposed development. So, next time you receive notification of a proposed development, it would be worthwhile getting an experienced team of professionals to review those plans...
When Good Hedges Go Bad.

When Good Hedges Go Bad.

We all love trees and hedges in our gardens (and even our neighbour’s gardens). What, however, can we do when our neighbour’s hedge grows a little too high and starts to impact on our views or access to sunlight? The Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006, when initially introduced, did not provide for any remedy for hedges impacting on view or sunlight. However, Part 2A was introduced into the Act in 2010 to specifically address this issue. This new section allows an appeal to be filed with the Land & Environment Court to seek orders to remedy and restrain a painful hedge. The relevant legal tests are: A group of 2 or more trees that are at least 2.5 metres above ground level; That are planted to form a hedge; and There is a severe obstruction of sunlight and/or to views from a window. Without getting bogged down in the detail of what is or is not a window, of importance to the Court’s consideration of whether orders will be made is the nature of the room, when the trees were planted, the amenity values of the trees and any heritage values of the trees. The Court’s discretion in this regard in unfettered. By way of example, the loss of sunlight to a window in a utility room is very unlikely to result in any order of the Court, whereas the opposite would apply to a room used regularly for daily activities (such as a dining room or kitchen). Similarly, if the only view lost is from one dining chair, then the Court is reluctant to make any orders....