A last-ditch attempt to prevent the demolition of Allianz Stadium failed today (Friday) after Sydney’s Local Democracy Matters group lost its latest legal appeal.
The New South Wales Land and Environment Court last week ruled that Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s coalition government did not breach its own planning rules for the project and that the demolition of the venue otherwise known as Sydney Football Stadium could proceed.
The plans for Allianz Stadium, along with other sports facilities in Sydney, have proved a political battleground ahead of a state election scheduled for March 23. The Labor and Greens parties have both been strongly opposed to the government’s wider stadium masterplan.
In the wake of last week’s ruling, Local Democracy Matters, which is supported by the Greens, took to the NSW Court of Appeal. However, following a four-hour expedited hearing, the appeal was rejected today. “All members of the court are of the view that the appeal should be dismissed,” Justice Mark Leeming said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
In response, Greens MP David Shoebridge conceded today’s ruling represented the “end of the legal road”. He added: “Gladys Berejiklian will be known as the wrecking ball of NSW politics. The wreckers will go in, the stadium’s going to be destroyed.”
Local Democracy Matters treasurer Chris Maltby said the decision was “upsetting indeed”. He added: “I think the moral case here is incredibly strong. It’s up to the people of NSW to pass judgment on this project in the next week.”
The government plans on demolishing Allianz Stadium and building a new 45,000-seat stadium that will feature a hybrid steel and wood roof. In December, the Berejiklian government said it had signed a contract with property and infrastructure group Lendlease to knock down the existing structure and build a new stadium for Aus$730m (£392m/€457m/$513m).
The project has proved a highly emotive subject in Sydney and footage yesterday (Thursday) of heavy machinery commencing demolition work resulted in outcry on social media.
Image: Allianz Stadium