A “”groundswell of community confusion” has resulted in the ACT Assembly’s planning committee bringing its review of planning legislation off the back-burner.

Opposition Planning spokesman and committee member Greg Cornwell said yesterday that submissions would now be sought on planning law. He had earlier called for a review citing “”the groundswell of community confusion about planning matters, in particular the impact of current development procedures on residential neighbourhoods”.

In the past year there has been widespread complaint from residents of stand-alone residences about nearby conversions to dual and multi occupancies, especially in the older suburbs of Red Hill and Yarralumla.

Mr Cornwell said that at the time of the Draft Territory Plan following the post-self-government 1989 planning law, few people realised the full implication of the multi-dwelling rules: that single residences anywhere in Canberra could be converted to one- or two-storey multi-dwelling residences on the one block and that in some place blocks could be amalgamated to build units.

He said, “”In some ways the delay has been useful because more people understand the implications of planning law now and so submissions to the committee will be better informed and cover a wider cross-section of the community.”

The chair of the committee, Wayne Berry, will now write to the Minister for Planning, Bill Wood, inviting a government submission.

Mr Cornwell said the committee would also seek submissions from the Department of Environment, Land and Planning and the ACT Planning Authority. It already had some community submissions and would welcome more.

Mr Wood said yesterday that he welcomed the review and that the Government had already prepared material. He had long recognised the need for continuous review of planning laws and procedures. As new procedures came into force there was often a need for review and fine tuning.

The other member of the committee is Independent Helen Szuty.

In another planning development, an appeal against planning decisions to permit development on part of the Tuggeranong Homestead site will be heard later this month by the ACT Planning Appeals Board.

The ACT Government has a policy of 50 per cent in-fill and 50 per cent greenfields development to accommodate growth in the ACT. The in-fill has been made up of development of green bits within the present city and redevelopment of old houses with units and multi and dual occupancy.

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