A vibrant new civic square in Merrylands is on its way courtesy of Cumberland City Council’s improved development application turnaround times.
The $5.5 million state funding for the civic square is provided by the NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program and recognises Council’s efforts to reduce development application processing times from the third longest in the state to among the best in the state. Council agreed in March 2021 to sign the funding agreement for the design and delivery of the civic square in Merrylands.
The NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program incentivises local councils to accelerate their assessments of development applications (DAs) and rezonings to meet demand for housing and employment over the next decade.
“It’s a great achievement that we’ve been able to create efficiencies and improve processes to make sure development applications are properly assessed in a reasonable time frame,” Mayor Steve Christou said.
“After the council mergers, we inherited a significant backlog of development applications.
“However, we have an experienced and dedicated team that has been making improvements to our planning processes, systems and controls and it’s good to see that this is translating into results as the median processing time continues to decrease.
“I have made it a priority to speed up development applications and I am happy that the team’s hard work is starting to show.”
The new civic square will create an open and green meeting place in the heart of Merrylands.
“It will connect Merrylands Road through to McFarlane Street to create a focal point and sense of community in the town centre,” Mayor Christou said.
Planning and design work is progressing for the civic square. The square is also part of broader infrastructure upgrades in the Merrylands Town Centre, including better stormwater systems to reduce flooding and upgraded high voltage electricity to cater for future development.
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the funding being delivered to councils was reliant on them meeting agreed targets to speed up local development applications.