National Trust shocked at Windsor Bridge announcement.
23 December, 2013
The National Trust was shocked to hear that Planning Minister Brad Hazzard has approved the demolition of the Windsor Bridge and roadworks that will impact on the nationally significant Thompson Square, the oldest public square in Australia.
The Trust had written to Premier Barry O’Farrell expressing its concern that Thompson Square was under threat and was awaiting a response from the Minister for Roads, Duncan Gay, when it heard the news.
The Trust strongly condemns this decision which flies in the face of the original advice from the Planning Department (as revealed in July in State Parliament). The decision also discounts the advice of Government Heritage bodies (State and Federal), the National Trust, and massive local opposition (including the business community).
This decision confirms how little weight is placed on community views, expert heritage advice, the state and national significance of this place and the key independent advice from former Roads Department senior engineers.
This doesn’t augur well for the re-introduction of the Planning Bills in February. If such a significant place can be damaged in this way the Community of NSW will have even less faith in the planning system and planning assessment and approval and heritage protection processes.
The Trust has little doubt that the local community will now intensify its campaign to save Thompson Square which will become a major test case in the debate on the new Planning Legislation.