Cessnock shows signs of economic recovery

New figures show Cessnock City Council has approved almost $15 million worth of residential development in the past five weeks, a trend described as a welcome sign of recovery in the economy and public confidence.

The multimillion-dollar result relates to 87 residential developments – new houses, units and renovations.

Mayor Bob Pynsent said the figures showed ‘‘mum and dad investors’’ had confidence in the future of the Cessnock local government area. He said the results were heartening at a time of low consumer confidence.

‘‘It will be a very high priority for the council to capitalise on this positive trajectory to ensure that the Cessnock local government area continues to attract growth and investment for the benefit of all our residents and business people,’’ he said.

He said Cessnock was benefiting from a growing level of confidence and economic stability, supported by the Hunter Expressway and land availability.

Council group manager of built and natural environment Gareth Curtis said there were 366 residential building approvals in the 2011-12 financial year, the third largest number for the council since 1996. The figures were a welcome sign the council was turning over applications, Cr Pynsent said.

He said the figures were a sign of confidence in the local government area, especially after its planning powers were removed by the state government.

The council was revealed to be the most complained about council in NSW in 2010, because of its history of delays in dealing with rezonings and development applications.

Mr Curtis said the figures could be described as a recovery.

He said approvals overall had increased since the 2008 global financial crisis but there was also volatility over the past four years.   

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