No room to pull political strings

The South Australian Government has announced a new policy to restore independence to building planning in Adelaide by curtailing the City Council’s powers.   

Under the new regulation, which came into effect this week, any development application in the city area with value exceeding $10 million will be handled by an independent development assessment commission.

The decision came after a recent planning review found the assessment process in the Adelaide CBD was highly politicised.

SA planning minister Paul Holloway has previously condemned the council’s decision to reject the Aspen Group’s proposed $180 million office tower in Franklin Street.

He said the group was one of the proponents who were “rejected outright” by the council without having been given an opportunity to amend their applications to address community concerns.

“The development assessment process is designed to provide an opportunity for consultation and negotiation in the pursuit of the best possible outcome,” he said.

“The position adopted by the Adelaide City Council’s Development Assessment Panel flies in the face of the planning reforms initiated by this Government.”

The state’s infrastructure minister Pat Conlon said while the changes would not be likened by the council, they would provide applicants with confidence in the judging process.

“It may put us on a collision course with some councillors, frankly I think that’s for the best, because we’re facing up to our responsibilities and I don’t think the council always has faced up to its,” Mr Conlon said.

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