Laman Street Trees and the Civic and Cultural Precinct Newcastle.
Parks and Playgrounds Movement were recently involved in litigation against the Newcastle City Council. Our action was taken in the public interest because it was manifestly unreasonable for Council to remove the Laman Street landscape without planning consent. Justice Biscoe however in his 36 page Judgment found that Council has power to remove the trees without planning consent. The case was a Judicial Review of Council’s decisions and did not consider the merit or otherwise of the removal.
The importance of the trees was identified at a design workshop earlier this year but a detailed plan for public exhibition was never prepared. A more experienced Council may have proceed in this instance with the planning of the precinct rather than remove the iconic trees before a plan acceptable to the community could be adopted.
It is now clear that there is no officially acceptable plan and that the risk factor for the trees was distorted by the belief that certain trees were “wind thrown” in the 2007 storm which was not the case.