Statement on Christchurch Playing Fields Decision
Published on 16 March 2023
The Town of Cambridge (the Town) has welcomed Minister Saffitoi’s decision to support the Town’s unanimous decision to deny the rezoning request of the Christ Church Playing Fields at Lot 2 McClemans Road, Mt Claremont.
Christ Church Grammar School had proposed a scheme amendment that sought to reclassify the eight-hectare site on McClemans Road from Parks and Recreation to Development, and to introduce a Special Control Area that would support the development of housing.
On 25 February 2022, a unanimous decision of council resolved not to adopt the proposed rezoning that would allow residential development and instead maintain the open space reservation over the land.
Under section 76 of the Planning and Development Act 2005 Christ Church Grammar School appealed the Town of Cambridge's decision to the Planning Minister.
The decision by council was consistent with the Town’s Local Planning Strategy. Importantly, the reservation was consistent with the original terms of sale, and the potential loss of this local public open space in this area would have had a detrimental impact on public amenity. The Scheme Amendment was strongly opposed by the local community as the oval has been available for public use since the 1960s.
Comments attributed to Mayor Keri Shannon
“The Town of Cambridge supports sensible development that is consistent with our Local Planning Strategy. We want to see the Town continue to grow in a sustainable manner and redeveloping these playing fields just doesn’t make sense in that context.”
“We are delighted that Minister Saffioti determined that there was not sufficient evidence and merit to support the scheme amendment being initiated, I know there will be a lot of very happy people in our community, and I would like to thank the Minister for supporting the Council’s unanimous decision to preserve this precious green open space in the Town of Cambridge”
“I am thrilled that the council’s unanimous decision has been upheld by the Minister”
Minister Saffioti has been supportive of local government playing a key role in planning by preparing and updating their local planning schemes as she mentioned recently on ABC Radio when the latest planning reforms were released "And the scheme in a sense is sort of the blueprint of how the area will be developed, what should be rezoned or not rezoned, and so councils continue to have that key role," "And in that role they need to determine where they want some density, and when they don't. When councils do that well then we can deliver density really well."