Council to crack down on derelict buildings

Keira MP Ryan Park at the old Howzat cricket grounds. He is campaigning for greater powers to crack down on owners of derelict buildings. Picture: ADAM McLEANOwners of ugly, dangerous or derelict buildings have been put on notice with plans to give councils greater powers to deal with the neglected structures.
Nanjing Night Net

Wollongong City Council has joined a campaign by Keira MP Ryan Park for greater powers to crack down on owners of dilapidated buildings to rid the city of unkempt eyesores.

Mr Park wants laws to give councils the power to enter premises and clean them up, and send the bill to the owners.

‘‘At the moment they’ve essentially got powers only when a building is extremely unsafe or there are health and safety issues with a particular building,’’ he said.

‘‘The council doesn’t have the powers to get in there and clean it up, from an amenity perspective, or simply tidy it up and charge it back to the owners.

‘‘And that’s what they really need to do because the reality is these buildings – some of which have very large sites and have been left derelict for many, many years – have a negative impact on the local [community].’’

Mr Park said homeowners and small-business owners in the areas surrounding run-down sites were suffering the most, with the eyesores detracting from the general amenity of the neighbourhood.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery will formally take the motion to the Local Government and Shires Association of NSW annual conference on October 28.

Mr Park hoped raising the matter at the conference would force the state government to act on the issue.

If the push for greater powers is successful, the government would be likely to introduce the legislation later this year as a part of the NSW planning review.

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