Is this the end for a Sydney icon?
ANYBODY who has spent any time in Sydney at all will recognise the iconic, much-loved attraction.
For many, it conjures up memories of nausea-inducing rides and fairy floss, but it could be coming to an end for the historic, harbourside Luna Park after a landmark court decision - blasted as "terrible" by its owner.
The Land and Environment Court ruled the fun park - which has thrilled Aussies and tourists since 1935 - couldn't install a new ride called the "Flying Carousel" without seeking development approval.
The devastating judgment effectively means the fun fair must submit to a development application process every time it moves or replaces rides.
This means local residents can complain about the potential noise of a ride and their objections would be considered as part of the application process.
Speaking to Fairfax, the park's managing director Peter Hearne said the decision has brought the business to its knees.
"We are deeply disappointed by this decision, which places a big question mark over the long-term viability of one of Sydney's best-known and most-loved destinations," Mr Hearne said. "This is a terrible outcome not just for Luna Park but for Sydney."
In March last year, Luna Park - which attracts more than a million thrillseekers a year - announced it would pump $20 million into improvements in the next four years.
The improvements promised six new hi-tech rides and updates to classic Luna Park favourites such as Coney Island, The Rotor, The Ferris Wheel and The Wild Mouse rollercoaster.
Mr Hearne told The Daily Telegraph, the new rides will be designed for thrillseekers and will use virtual reality and other technologies.
"The experience needs to be refreshed," Mr Hearne said.
The first of the new rides, the Flying Carousel, was supposed to form the centrepiece of a "family zone" designed to appeal to people with small children.
However, a construction certificate for the attraction was rejected by the certifying authority four days after it was lodged in March 2017.
"The works cannot be demonstrated as not inconsistent with the development consents as it was unclear whether the development consents authorise the installation of new rides," the authority stated.
According to Fairfax, Luna Park Sydney Pty Ltd took NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts to court after he backed the certifier's rejection of the application.
The minister rejected the amusement park's assertion that the first of three phases of planning regulations governing Luna Park meant new rides could be installed without seeking development approval.
Mr Roberts won the case and Acting Justice Simon Molesworth said the park's owners failed to understand that the Stage 1 Consent "could, or did, permit land uses without approving the works enabling those uses".
LUNA PARK'S TROUBLED HISTORY
Luna Park - built with the Art Deco architecture of the 1930s - opened on October 4, 1935, based on the first Luna Park which opened on Coney Island, New York in 1903.
American entrepreneur Herman Phillips brought the idea to Australia and opened Luna Park in Melbourne in 1912 and Luna Park Glenelg, Adelaide in 1930.
Despite initial success, the Sydney attraction was earmarked to be turned into a multistorey trade centre in the 1960s. However, the bid was unsuccessful.
In 1979, a tragic ghost train fire, which claimed the lives of six children, forced the closure of the attraction until 1982, when it reopened under a new name and new owners.
However, the fun park closed again in 1988 for renovation after an unsuccessful attempt to redevelop the site as an adult entertainment centre.
In 2002, Luna Park Sydney Pty Ltd won a 40-year lease for the attraction and it reopened in 2004 after a lengthy refurbishment.
In February, 2010, the fun park was put on the NSW Heritage Register.