Stephanie Anderson May 30, 2012
Canberrans have gained back the right to be informed about neighbouring developments.
Changes to planning regulations came into effect yesterday, requiring home owners to provide neighbours with plans for demolition and alterations which were previously exempt from development applications.
The amendments are a throwback to previous planning regulations, through which neighbours were notified of proposed developments and were able to comment.
The recent changes do not facilitate feedback, but Griffith-Narrabundah Community Association secretary Marguerite Castello said they would still counter some of the concerns previously caused by inadequate information.
''It can be quite a hot issue and some of this we hope will be ameliorated by better notification,'' she said. ''It won't mean changes won't happen, but people will be better informed.''
Master Builders ACT deputy executive director Jerry Howard labelled the changes as red tape which would add to the cost of building.
''This is just another example of more bureaucracy and red tape for very minimal benefit,'' he said.
''We just believe that this doesn't add any value at all to the process. These constant changes, most of them are absolutely pointless.''
However, Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell said the process involved minimal costs or time delays to home owners.
He said the home owner undertaking development would be required to fill out a form and attach a copy of plans to neighbours whose properties come into contact with, or are directly opposite, the development.
A form detailing who has been contacted and what information was provided would also need to be submitted before building approval could be granted.
Mr Corbell said the process would inform residents of nearby developments. The changes will not apply to the construction of homes in new estates, which remain exempt from development approval.