The reply from the General Manager 13.9.2010


Our group wrote to the General Manager about the issues surrounding council’s power to remove the Laman Street figs without a development application, apparently ignoring the Heritage assessment it had done, and without, apparently, an environmental assessment – or at least one that has been made available to councillors.

The reply is dated 3.9.2010 and says:

‘Council disagrees with your identification and interpretation of legislative instruments relevant to this matter.

‘Laman Street between Darby and Dawson Streets is unzoned. The Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2003 does not apply to unzoned land.

‘With respect to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007, section 98(2) states that ‘Development for any purpose may be carried out by a public authority without consent on a public road that is unzoned land.’

‘Heritage and conservation issues are fully documented in the Heritas Architecture Heritage Assessment report, made available during the consultation, which also recognises that the trees are near the end of their safe useful life expectancy.

‘Section 88 of the Roads Act 1993 (NSW) allows a roads authority to, despite any other Act or Law to the contrary , remove or lop any tree or other vegetation that is on or overhanging a public road if, in its opinion, it is necessary to do so for the purpose of carrying out road work or removing a traffic hazard.’ Council is the local roads authority for Laman Street.

‘Your questions relating to risk have been addressed by Council officers during consultation, in the Arborists’ reports, and in the various reports presented to Council.

‘Council has thoroughly investigated all relevant legislation and is comfortable that Council can proceed as planned.

‘Thankyou for again etc’

If anyone knows of any planned roadwork in Laman Street, we’d love to hear about it. If anyone knows about a traffic hazard in Laman Street, we’d also love to hear from you.

The Heritas Architecture study were simply quoting from council’s own arborist reports in relation to the outdated SULE ratings. In fact the Heritas Architecture study recognises the heritage importance of Laman Street.

My fellow campaigners tell me that the SEPP(I) was intended to facilitate the delivery of infrastructure, not destroy heritage assets.

And two small things: there is to be a meeting about ‘improving’ Islington Park soon – it’s about placemaking. It’s a beautiful park already, so imagine if it were improved! There’s the most fantastic row of Moreton Bay figs along one side of it that our arborist/former arborist has said are nearing the end of their lives but presumably this isn’t relevant to improving the park. the meeting’s on from 6 to 8:30pm Wed 22nd Sept at the Hall, Islington Primary School, access from Hubbard Street. Bizarrely you’re asked to RSVP by 20 Sept.   

And secondly, in TGIF I wrote that the Lord Mayor announced that council still intended to move the grove War Memorial. I rang his office to clarify his thoughts on this but didn’t receive a reply in return so I’m happy that he talked to the Herald and said his comments had been misconstrued. TG for that.  Home  



3 Responses to “The reply from the General Manager 13.9.2010”

  1. Phoenix Says:

    Horrifying – now, like almost everything else in our world – cars, houses, phones, computers, homewares, clothes, etc – now, our environment is being treated as disposable and subject to fashion. Nothing can reach its full potential before being deemed replaceable. What a sad and impoverished view of life.

  2. smiler Says:

    They’re using Roads Act 1993 s88 “traffic hazard” and you have a report saying there is not a traffic hazard.
    Could you get an injunction disputing their decision/opinion and also force their decision to be balanced with heritage issues?
    Maybe the outcome might be a compromise with staged replacemnet of the avenue with mature figs? Better than block removal and 3m replacements and losing the avenue to a single row of trees.
    I hope you can get a better outcome for our figs and Newcastle.
    P.S. are all the the figs definitely on the unzoned road parcel?

  3. smiler Says:

    “Laman Street between Darby and Dawson Streets is unzoned. The Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2003 does not apply to unzoned land.”
    Laman St between Darby and Dawson St is within NCCLEP 2008 not NLEP 2003.It lies within the Newcastle City Centre Heritage Conservation Area

    NCCLEP 2008 extracts:

    14 Unzoned land
    (1) Development may be carried out on unzoned land only with consent.
    (2) Before granting consent, the consent authority:
    (a) must consider whether the development will impact on adjoining zoned land and, if so, consider the objectives for development in the zones of the adjoining land, and
    (b) must be satisfied that the development is appropriate and is compatible with permissible land uses in any such adjoining land.

    46 Heritage Conservation:
    Development consent is required for any of the following:
    2 (b) altering a heritage item or a building, work, relic, tree or place within a heritage conservation area…

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