IF it was nippy outside last night, it didn’t compare to the frostiness in the Holroyd Centre where councillors made the unpopular decision to permit 20-storey developments in the Merrylands central business district.
Holroyd councillors also voted not to allow 15-storey developments in the Wentworthville town centre, opting to adopt a 2010 local environment plan which permits only buildings of a maximum height of seven-storeys to be built in the CBD.
“I cannot believe councillors can be so arrogant and unaccountable... pursuing their own high-rise agenda,’’ said Gillian Kirby, who owns and lives in a north-facing unit in Newman Street, Merrylands.
Another speaker said: “Parramatta is only now getting its first 20-storey buildings, so we should be getting ours in 40 years’’.
Speaking on the business imperative to proceed with development, a speaker stated that “we were getting better square metre returns on Merrylands Road than Parramatta in 2005’’.
The meeting was strewn with calls for apologies over personal attacks on councillors and council staff and political grandstanding by some councillors, as well as the public.
This included a man who accused the council of impinging on his right to freedom of speech because the mayoress, Yvette Whitfield, would not allow him to tape-record his speech to the council.
Cr Whitfield rose from her chair more than once during the five-hour extraordinary meeting to chastise speakers including councillors.
She remained adamant that strictly no speaker would be allowed to speak for longer than five minutes, which was met by jeers from the 70-strong public gathering who said: “this is too important”.