The planned demolition and subsequent rebuild of Sydney’s Allianz Stadium has been put on hold until next month following a case brought forward by the Local Democracy Matters community group.
The New South Wales Land and Environment Court has extended an injunction to prevent the demolition of the 45,000-seat venue until March 8, when a final decision is expected on the project.
Local Democracy Matters’ case relates to December’s decision by the incumbent NSW coalition government to award a contract for the demolition of Allianz Stadium and construction of a new venue (pictured) it says will be the finest in Australia.
With government elections scheduled for next month, the project has ramped up political tensions and both the Labor and Greens parties are strongly opposed to the government’s plans, which also include major renovation work at ANZ Stadium.
In December, the Berejiklian government said that it had gained approval from the Department of Planning and Environment to begin demolition of Allianz Stadium and had signed a contract with property and infrastructure group Lendlease to knock down the existing structure and build a new stadium for Aus$730m (£396m/€459m/$522m).
Local Democracy Matters claimed that the government “rushed” its application process for demolition, adding that the plan lacked public consultation, failed to satisfy required design excellence provisions and ignored contamination soil on the site.
Sydney’s Waverley Council later joined calls to halt the demolition and was granted an expedited hearing that was heard concurrently alongside the case already brought by Local Democracy Matters.
The state election is due on March 23, by which point the Berejiklian government hopes to begin demolition of Allianz Stadium. Today’s (Tuesday’s) ruling means that the process cannot begin before March 8 and could be delayed further.
Local Democracy Matters spokesman Chris Maltby said, according to The Guardian: “It’s excellent that we’ve got this far. The main issue here is will the government uphold its own planning laws.
“We hope the decision will be revisited in the backwash of the election: $700 and something million to build a stadium of the same size on the same site is just a terrible waste of money.”
Image: Allianz Stadium