Mayor defends overturned zoning plan

RATEPAYERS will be the losers, not the winners, after the Blacktown local environmental plan was amended last week, mayor Len Robinson said.

Bowman Hall erupted into cheers after 66 homes earmarked for possible rezoning to public space were saved at an extraordinary meeting called to discuss the plan.

The decision was one of four amendments Labor councillors and independent Russ Dickens made.

Another amendment allows Bidwill Hotel to continue operating as a licensed premises under future owners.

The mayor said the amendments rewarded developers and future ratepayers would pay the price.

Removing the 66 homes from the list of properties to be rezoned for open space will stop the council from claiming adequate Section 94 contributions paid for by developers, Cr Robinson said.

"It's achieved nothing and put everyone in jeopardy — not just the 66 homes but also everyone else around them," Cr Robinson told the Star.

"For most of the speakers at the public forum, all they wanted was for it to be resolved."

Cr Robinson said it was unlikely the state government will accept the amendment all existing school sites be zoned SP1 Special Activity, instead of residential.

"What the Labor Party and Russ have done is caused financial chaos," Cr Robinson said.

"It will cost ratepayers up to $33 million in 20 years' time.

"They're trying to be popular but what they've done is be financially irresponsible."

Labor councillor Charlie Lowles argued it was the right decision to save 66 homes.

"Where are these homeowners going to get the money to start again," he asked.

Blacktown Residents Voice spokeswoman Indira Devi has been campaigning to save residents' homes for almost a year.

"My message to the councillors is to consult and listen to us — which some still aren't doing," Mrs Devi said.

She is considering standing for a council seat in 2015.

■ Go to stmarysstar.com.au

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