The verdict in our long running case was handed down to-day, all done in 5 minutes
The function centre is impermissible.
The plan of management is invalid and the development consent has been set aside.
It has been a long journey and this victory was only possible because of the generosity and hard work of our legal team, Tim Robertson, Jason Lazarus, Jacquie Svenson and Felicity Wardhaugh and our many dedicated supporters who shared our belief about the importance of Crown Land. Our sincere thanks go to them.
A Media release form the ABC
Fred Nile wants the ICAC to look into the King Edward Park redevelopment (ABC News: Dan Cox)
The head of a parliamentary planning inquiry wants the corruption watchdog to look into why the old Newcastle bowling club site redevelopment was ever approved.
Earlier this week, the Land and Environment Court ruled council’s approval of a function centre on the King Edward Park site was invalid.
It said it was not in keeping with the reserve’s stated purpose of public recreation.
Christian Democrats leader Fred Nile headed up a planning inquiry into the project, along with others in Newcastle.
He said the ICAC should have a look at it.
“Yes, I think it’s an issue that should be followed up as to how it was approved in the first place,” he said.
“Such a large development on King Edward headland reserve.
“I believe there are sufficient grounds to investigate the matter.”
Reverend Nile said there are sufficient grounds for the ICAC to investigate.
“Because there were changes,” he said.
“Because the Council originally rejected the proposal to rezone the land so why did they change that decision.
“I think when we have those beautiful sites such as the King Edward Park we need to protect them.”
The Judgment from our case in March 2014 will be handed down next Monday at 4pm in the Land and Environment Court.
This is, if not the culmination of a four year struggle, will at least be a hall mark event, which will not only affect the future of King Edward Park but the security of Crown Land Reserves throughout the State.
For those of you who have not followed events, in February 2012 Friends of King Edward Park Inc. challenged the Newcastle City Council decision to allow the development of a 450 seat function with car parking on the King Edward Headland Reserve. The Reserve, which had been the site of a small bowling club, was dedicated for public recreation and was originally part of King Edward Park, gifted to the people in 1863. It is of enormous historical importance in both European and Aboriginal history and is closely linked to the historical development of Newcastle. The site was being appropriated for the exclusive use of those attending the function centre.
Our challenge had several points of claim but significant among them was the claim that an additional purpose could not be added that was contrary to the dedication of the land.
There have been many challenges along the way. In April 2012 the Newcastle City Council brought a security of costs case against the Friends claiming that the case was not in the public interest.
Our bona fides as a community group acting in the public interest were tested and we won on all counts.
Our credentials were established and the significance of the case to the people of NSW was confirmed when
Biscoe J stated:
- “A purpose cannot be an additional purpose within the meaning of S112A if it is inconsistent with, contradicts or negates the purpose (declared purpose) for which the land is reserved.
- Conference centres, or commercial centres are inconsistent with the declared purpose of the Reserve for public recreation.
- This point, if good is important because it affects every public reserve in NSW because it constrains the use of public reserves in a very significant way.”