Council coy on responses

SOUTHERN Downs Regional Council was this week unable to put a timeframe on when more than 50 people who made submissions on the planning scheme would receive a written response as required by state law.

It was likewise unable to pinpoint when the final version of the scheme will go before council, having previously said the intention was to send the scheme for state approval early in 2012.

Under the Queensland Integrated Planning Act, council planning schemes must be approved by the State Government, which has sweeping powers to make changes and overrule council decisions on development applications.

Manager of Strategic Planning Jeanette Davis said this week she was "carefully considering" all of the public submissions, with a view to presenting a report to Council "as soon as possible" containing details of each submission and recommendations.

"I will be writing to every submitter with a decision on their submission once council has had an opportunity to consider all the submissions," she said.

Finalisation of the scheme at the council end is also likely to be hampered by errors and omissions in the proposed local heritage list, which has been referred back to the consultants for further amendment.

Cr Ross Bartley said there would be a few "curly ones" in regard to the new scheme to discuss at council.

"And there is a little bit of a grey area as to when we start using the new one," he said.

While councillors have brought up the new scheme when considering development applications, Cr Bartley said they weren't giving consideration to the new scheme when they deliberated on the applications.

"We have adopted it in principle but it hasn't been accepted by State Planning yet and until that is done we are not assessing anything according to the new scheme," he said.

"We have put in things from Stanthorpe and Warwick and I think we have come up with what I believe should work better for the community."

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