Newcastle council axes discussion time between developers and residents

Newcastle councillor Therese Doyle

Newcastle councillor Therese Doyle

Ken Gouldthorp

Ken Gouldthorp

Tim Crankanthorp

Tim Crankanthorp

MEDIATION processes between private developers and local residents have been cut at Newcastle City Council.

Several Newcastle councillors were surprised to hear the news at last week's council meeting after listening to developers and residents debate housing proposals for Mayfield and the Newcastle CBD.

Instead, the elected council sat through four different presentations from developers and the public, who argued their cases in front of an audience.

Greens councillor Therese Doyle was dismayed by the lack of communication between the opposing parties and the council's lack of attempts to remedy any issues before formal documents were submitted to the council.

She was also disappointed when she was shut out of one of the discussions because the public voice session ran overtime.

Cr Tim Crakanthorp became frustrated when he was barred from asking council staff any questions about the development proposals.

Newcastle general manager Ken Gouldthorp said the mediation process was often misused by people in the past and delayed the processing of development applications, affecting the council's "ability to move on".

He said residents could argue their case against a development by writing a submission instead.

Cr Crakanthorp disagreed with Mr Gouldthorp, stating it was a "good service" and often helped two conflicting parties reach a compromise.

He pointed to the 100-lot manufactured home village proposal for Mayfield as a good example of where compromises could be reached.

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