Revitalising Newcastle – Planning to Fail

The State Government is letting Newcastle down with its latest release from the Revitalising Newcastle project. There is an old saying that failing to plan is planning to fail. Sadly for Newcastle, despite enormous rhetoric, there is a distinct absence of planning.

Newcastle Future Fund?

Newcastle is developing a history of passionate and peaceful protest.  Look at the Layman Street Figs for example. On the weekend, many people hit the streets to protest the cutting and removal of the rail line between Wickham and Newcastle Stations. The State Government is determined to press ahead with the project with work commencing on Boxing Day, barely 11 days away. As I wrote in a previous blog, I believe that many people object to the project because they fear what will become of the land.  It now seems inevitable that parts of the land will be sold off for redevelopment.  This in and of itself is not a bad thing, so long as the redevelopment is done well. Setting that aside, here is a question to ponder – Why can’t the proceeds of the sale of that land be put into a Newcastle Future Fund? Money from the Fund could only be spent on Newcastle projects.  The Fund could be administered in a completely open and transparent way (a website with audited accounts, for example).  Individuals or groups could apply for grants from the Fund for local projects.   Perhaps the Fund could be used solely for public transport projects? Anyway, my point is that this money should stay in Newcastle and not be absorbed into State Treasury for redistribution elsewhere. Anyone agree?...

Conveyancing Headaches?

Are you buying or selling real estate and have hit a planning or local council issue?   I’ll be the first to admit that planning and local government law in New South Wales has grown ludicrously complex in the last few decades.   The amount of regulation can be mind-boggling and can have significant effects that are not readily apparent until it comes time to sell or purchase.   For example, if you are selling, there may be an order issued by the local council some time ago. This order generally runs with the land, thus making your property far less appealing to prospective purchasers.   As a purchaser, you should ask the vendor for a building certificate or obtain your own. You may love the property but, let’s say, there are issues with the certificate. What should you do?   Does a s.149 Certificate have notes that you find puzzling?   I have over 20 years experience as a local government Planner and Lawyer and can help you make sense of the regulation and make your sale or purchase with peace of mind.   If you are in this position, please give me a call. I would be happy to have a 5 minute chat at no charge to you....

Stop the rot

Given some of the revelations arising from the recent ICAC hearings, the time has come for third party merit appeal rights in NSW.