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Review of planning in Endeavour Cove calls for tighter controls

3 April 2020

Kingston Council has responded to community concerns over planning decisions at Endeavour Cove Patterson Lakes and has completed an independent legal review.

Kingston Mayor Georgina Oxley said the review was vital to ensure an independent assessment of planning decisions in the area and provide transparency to our community.  “We want to make sure that the Endeavour Cove area is well-managed so that our community can have confidence in local planning and have pride in their local area."

Council engaged Hall & Willcox Lawyers to conduct a review following concerns raised by councillors and the community over planning decisions in the area. The review included a review of community feedback, site visits, study of tens of thousands of pages of records plus interviews with staff.

“While the law firm’s findings found no evidence of corruption or fraud, it did identify a number of mistakes made and we are now focusing on putting in place stronger controls to ensure no future errors are made,” Cr Oxley said.

The review recommended:

  • Stricter consideration of planning applications by two senior staff to ensure they are properly allocated and processed
  • Improved advertising of applications to make sure the community is well informed
  • Improved responses to community requests for planning information
  • Improved notification to councillors of significant applications in the area to ensure they can keep the community informed
  • Educate staff on the review findings and improved processes to ensure no further errors are made
  • Council seek legal advice on any planning matters within the Comprehensive Development Zone (Schedule 1)

As a result of the findings of the review, Council has commenced an independent governance review to enhance processes throughout the organisation.

Council will also prepare background work for a potential Planning Scheme Amendment to update the planning controls for the area.  The Endeavour Cove area in Patterson Lakes was created in the early 1990s and has different planning rules to other areas of Kingston.

The review identified that the unusual planning controls for the area had contributed to errors made. 

Errors identified in the review included:

  • a 6-storey apartment building built on a site identified for car parking
  • approval has been given for buildings that were taller than should be allowed including a 4-storey building built where only 2-3 storeys were allowed
  • Townhouses were approved in an area that was meant to be open space and pedestrian walkways

Cr Oxley said Council was focusing on making improvements to Council’s planning processes. “I want the community to be assured that we are taking this review very seriously and will be implementing strong controls to ensure this area is properly managed into the future,” Cr Oxley said.

Council will now write to all community members who made submissions to the review to ensure they are fully briefed on the review’s outcomes and welcome their feedback on ways to further improve processes.

 

 

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