Wednesday, November 16, 2005  

Letters to "The Leader" November

Court short on supermarket

Can anyone tell me how the Land and Environment Court (LEC) arrives at its decisions?
This is not a frivolous question. I genuinely desire enlightenment.
Take an example, hypothetical of course. A block of suburban land becomes available. A property developer, with the assistance of a prominent retail chain, proposes to erect a complex of commercial and residential spaces including a supermarket run by the above chain.

The council may or may not like the idea at this stage but must submit it to its ratepayers.

Those in the relevant area emphatically do not want it. Their area has a distinctive, village character. It is well supplied with shops of many kinds and already has one supermarket, small but perfectly adequate. Anyway, there are big supermarkets in neighbouring suburbs, if wanted.

The council turns down the application.
The developer appeals to the LEC and is granted permission.
The ratepayers bombard the council with objections so it appeals the decision. It too is
successful so the developer counter-appeals. The only letters in the local press in support of the development are from people in other areas, not the one directly concerned.
How long can this go on? Appeal after appeal after appeal can achieve only one result — to line the pockets of the lawyers. Surely the LEC must see that if neither the council nor the local reisdents want the development it should be refused.

Margaret E Davis, Penshurst
The Leader, 8 November 2005

The current situation is not only due to anomalies within the Land and Environment COurt. The Council staff briefed their lawyers for the appeal. They did not include traffic as an issue of concern.Also, the COuncil did not have a barrister or any expert witnesses, whereas the developer had a barrister, a traffic expert, a tree expert and a management expert. HArdly a level playing ground!The Court can only deal with information and issues presented to it. Subsequent appeals are limited to legal points only so if the issues are not presentedin the original case, they cant be introduced later.
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