WARNERS Bay is heading for a ‘‘massive overdevelopment’’ if Lake Macquarie City Council plans for the town centre proceed, resident John Farrington says.
Mr Farrington, who has lived in the town for 50 years, said ‘‘a strong majority’’ had told the council they were against increased building heights.
As reported recently, the council proposed to allow five and six-storey buildings in the town.
This was despite a council-funded survey finding 60per cent of people support building heights in Warners Bay town centre of four storeys or less.
Mr Farrington said the council had ignored the survey. ‘‘What’s happened is anti-democratic.’’
The council insisted taller buildings were planned ‘‘on larger sites to improve economic viability, achieve higher quality buildings and public-domain improvements’’.
Mr Farrington said the council’s draft plan was ‘‘biased towards developers, some of whom will gladly take the profits and run leaving Warners Bay and its residents much worse off’’.
Warners Bay resident David McLean said the plan ‘‘seems to be based on the need to attract as much investment and development as possible’’.
‘‘We should be looking at minimising such investment to a level which maintains and enhances the viability of the town centre and ensures it is a safe and attractive place to be,’’ Mr McLean said.
The town was already a busy place.
‘‘Its natural setting is a great drawcard,’’ he said. ‘‘Problems arising from overdevelopment could ruin it for generations to come.’’
Mr Farrington said residents would like to see the town centre improved but not in the style of the council’s proposal.
The Newcastle Herald reported on Wednesday that Warners Bay Chamber of Commerce said the town must change or ‘‘get left behind’’.
Mr Farrington said the chamber and the council appear to see residents ‘‘as consumers to be exploited’’.
Residents spending in the town over a long period had led to business growth, he said.
The council’s plan for a six-storey development on the John Street car park was ‘‘an imposing monolith’’.
‘‘We’ve campaigned for three years on this – there’s been a sizeable number of submissions,’’ he said.
‘‘They seem to be digging their heels in and making it worse.’’