It has been another busy year for the Forum, with our ability to hold public meetings severely disrupted by the pandemic. Here are some of the key issues that we’ve covered over the last twelve months –October

  • The proposed rezoning of land on the corner of Edward/Queen Streets and construction of an 8 dwelling ‘Terrace’ was refused following many  objections from residents.
  • The Department of Planning (DPIE) refused the proposed rezoning of 40ha of land fronting Beach Rd by Wire Lane, following its review of the Forum Committee’s submission in support of Council staff’s recommendation.
  • A DA was lodged for a major tourist accommodation complex in Bong Bong Rd. Residents were assisted with understanding the relevant planning legislation and Council communications. DA was withdrawn.

November

  • The updated Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan 2041 was issued – Berry residents had sent 170 submissions supporting the Forum Committee’s recommendations for Shoalhaven 2040.
  • Proposed rezoning of land south of Hitchcocks Lane – the Forum Committee’s submission covered visual impact, traffic issues, etc.

December

  • A DA was lodged for a prohibited function centre at Mananga Homestead using SLEP Clause 5.10 Heritage Conservation Incentives. The proponents did not provide proof of the financial necessity.
  • A DA was  lodged for the construction of a two-storey, flat-roofed dwelling opposite the heritage-listed Courthouse – local residents requested the Forum’s assistance with legislation and communications.

January

  • A multi-dwelling development was proposed for 52 Parker Crescent – the Forum Committee supported the residents’ request to rezone Huntingdale large lot areas to R5 Rural residential, which prohibits multi-dwelling developments. Council agreed and DPIE approval was obtained in June.

March

  • Draft Local Character Clause – the Forum Committee supported Council’s submission to the DPIE that DAs should be required to provide a ‘statement of consistency’ with the Clause, not just take it into consideration.

April

  • Three NSW Ministers proposed radical planning changes allowing ‘farmers’ to start agritourism businesses (farm stays / small wedding reception venues) – we advised the DPIE of unforeseen consequemces and potentially major adverse ramifications for rural properties around Berry.
  • The NSW Government advised a new regulatory framework for short-term rental accommodation.

May

  • Another multi-dwelling development was proposed for Parker Crescent – residents again requested the Forum’s support. The DA was refused.

June

  • The DPIE approved the addition of two heritage conservation areas and 12 heritage properties to the SLEP – we worked closely with Council and the Berry Historical Society on the proposal.
  • Pedestrian crossings and a 40kph zone were proposed by Council for Queen St. The  Committee sought community input and liaised with the Chamber committee to seek the best outcome for residents and business owners.

July

  • DA for a function centre at Mananga Homestead – a comprehensive Council staff assessment included an independent heritage review very critical of the proposal, and definitive legal advice that “Council cannot approve the DA”. 500 submissions objected to the DA over three notifications. However, a majority of councillors, including Andrew Guile, John Wells and Annette Alldrick from Ward 1, voted to approve the DA.

August

  • The Land & Environment Court approved the multi-dwelling development at 52 Parker Crescent – residents were justifiably aggrieved by the Commissioner’s implausible justification and continue to dispute justification for a sub-division.

Regular updates were also provided throughout the year on Covid19, Boongaree, L’Etape road closures and Princes Highway upgrades.

There is no Forum Meeting in December.

However, we will provide a summary of the results of the Council elections to be held on 4 December as soon as they are available.We thank you for your support and will continue to do our best to serve the Berry community over the next twelve months.David CarterChairmanhttps://berryforum.org.au/