A major residential development in Blacktown has been delayed until councillors can inspect a similar development in Lidcombe.
Mayor Len Robinson was forced to leave the chamber yesterday because of a perceived conflict of interest between himself and the applicant Australand, which is a client of his.
Australand has proposed to build between 800 and 1200 homes on the site of the former Ashlar Golf Course, off Richmond Road.
But councillors rejected the developer’s proposed minimum lot sizes in December last year ‘‘as it was considered not in the best interest of creating sustainable and quality communities’’.
At the meeting on Wednesday, councillors were told the director general of Planning and Infrastructure NSW had written to the council strongly advising they approve the development.
Cr Edmond Atalla said he took offence ‘‘at the director general of planning and infrastructure now dictating how we are supposed to vote on things’’.
He said the council had previously determined that a decision should be deferred until after councillors and staff had inspected the site of a development with similarly-sized lots.
That inspection at the Botanica development at Lidcombe had not happened, he said, so the application should again be deferred.
Cr Karlo Siljeg said deferring the development again would only result in the planning department taking consent authority off the council.
‘‘If we say no now, we’re gong to have control taken off us because it’s a development of significant importance,’’ he said.
The council’s recommendation to approve the application was defeated by one vote and an amendment to defer the decision until after an inspection at the Botanica site was won by the casting vote of deputy mayor Russ Dickens.