Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Developer donations still an issue at Newcastle Council

Council met on 27 January 2009 to consider a formal request to review its decision about a development application to build 52 dwellings on 10 dwelling lots at Wallsend by a company associated with Mr Hilton Grugeon.

The review related to the resolution of the Development Approvals Committee meeting held on 14 October 2008 which recommended that the application be approved on the basis of amended plans being submitted by the applicant, deleting dwellings 2 to 5 and their replacement with open space and carparking as well as an additional condition regarding noise attenuation. This still allowed 48 dwellings on 10 dwelling lots, way in excess of that allowed under Council's Development Control Plan.

On 14 October 2008, a motion was moved that:
The application be rejected on the following basis:

1. The site is considered Standard Residential Precinct under the Newcastle Urban Strategy (NUS)
• This density and height is not keeping with surrounding area

2. The District Centre Residential Density premise on the basis of the SAFE principal is flawed.
• It more than 600m to Stockland Jesmond
• S4.2.2 of the report states that it does not comply with the DCP urban housing element 5.2, Section 79C (1) (a) (iii)
• Due to dwellings 1-6 and 8 encroaching beyond the building envelope.
• Number of on-site car parking spaces does not comply with DCP 2005, and this combined with limited on street parking availability will create traffic amenity and safety problems.
• The proposed development requires 64 spaces, according to DCP guidelines - the site layout has provision for 55.

This motion was lost 3 votes to 8 votes (Councillor Buman was out of the room having admitted receiving donations from Mr Hilton Grugeon and Councillor Boyd was away).

For the motion Councillors M Jackson, N Nelmes and M Osborne.
Against the motion The Lord Mayor, Councillors S Claydon, S Connell, B Cook, T Crackanthorp, M King, B Luke, S Sharpe.

On 27 January 2009
, the Lord Mayor (who had received donations from Mr Hilton Grugeon) moved, using a Lord Mayoral minute, that
The Development Applications Committee defer consideration of DA 06/0675 to the Council meeting scheduled for 3 February 2009 to allow a report of the Conduct Review Committee relation to DA 06/0675 to be received and considered by Council before consideration of DA 06/0675.

The motion was seconded by Councillor Luke, who had also received donations from Mr Hilton Grugeon.

On 3 February 2009, a report came to council from a sole reveiwer from the Code of Conduct Committee relating to allegations against 5 Newcastle City Councillors.

The report considered allegations in relation to

Councillor Tate’s failure to disclose and manage a conflict of interests regarding DA 06/0675; and
Further allegations in relation to the failure by Councillors Luke; Buman; Connell; and King, to disclose and/or manage conflict of interests regarding DA 06/0675.

Extracts from the report and its conclusions can be found here: Code of Conduct complaint

When Council considered the review of the development application decision, it made the following resolution:

The application to demolish the existing dwellings on the site and to erect a two-storey urban housing development comprising 52 dwellings be approved as recommended by the original report to the Development Applications Committee meeting held 14 October 2008 and consent granted, subject to compliance with the conditions set out in the Draft Schedule of Conditions as provided by that report.

The motion was put to the meeting and the Lord Mayor called for a division which resulted as follows:
For the motion The Lord Mayor, Councillors G Boyd, A Buman, B Cook, M King, B Luke and S Sharpe.
Against the motion Councillors S Claydon, T Crakanthorp, N Nelmes, M Osborne and M Jackson.

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