Crown’s Barangaroo to face court battle over land

Crown Resorts will soon be facing a Sydney community group in court, which alleges the NSW Planning Commission had illegally handed over the land to Barangaroo without a fight.

According to local media, the Millers Point Fund Inc, a group representing the residents of nearby Millers Point, has alleged that the NSW Planning Assessment Commission had failed to defend the space for public use, which was preserved for that purpose in a concept plan approved in 2007.

It claims the commission illegally overrode the plan and handed over the waterfront park to Crown in June, while shifting the park to a much less desirable location.

It also claimed the commission decided upon the location of the casino according to amendments to the Casino Control Act, instead of using Environmental Planning and Assessment rules.

“The commission misunderstood its powers and failed to have an open mind to make a decision,” the chief executive at the Environmental Defenders Office, Sue Higginson, said.

“It misconstrued the act and therefore the decision [to award the park to Crown] has to fall.”

Should the community group win, Crown may have to “stand down” construction work on the site and possibly relocate.

“In our submission we argued that Packer’s tower should be moved close to Hickson Road and the area where he wants to build it should revert to foreshore park,” said Millers Point Fund spokesman John McInerney, a former City of Sydney councillor.

“We think it should be tucked back into the cityscape, instead of on the edge of the harbour, which has traditionally been low rise.”

Lendlease, the developer behind the project said it intends to defend the case in the Land and Environment Court.

A spokesman for Crown similarly said the company would also be vigorously defending the case.

The Millers Point case is likely to conclude on Wednesday, November 16.