Sydney’s Luna Park is again under a cloud after a court ruled the amusement park did not have a right to install a new ride without seeking prior development approval, according to reports from the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Land and Environment Court judgement means for every new ride Luna Park’s operators wish to install, move or replace, they must submit a development application, and have that application approved. As part of the application process, local residents who are concerned about noise or light pollution from the new rides can have their objections considered.

In an interview with the Herald, Luna Park’s managing director Peter Hearne said the ruling was “a terrible outcome” not just for Luna Park but for Sydney. “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.”

In 2017 Luna Park announced a $20 million dollar makeover that was to include six new rides to the Milsons Point amusement park.

In March it lodged a construction certificate for the new Flying Carousel in the Maloney’s Corner precinct of Luna Park. It was rejected four days later by the certifying authority. Luna Park Sydney Pty Ltd then challenged the decision in the Land and Environment Court.

At the heart of the court battle is whether Luna Park has a right to the “use of land” for its amusement rides, versus the right to “development of land”, which applies to the construction of new, non-heritage rides, such as the Flying Carousel.

In his ruling, Acting Justice Simon Molesworth determined that Luna Park has the right to install new rides on its premises but those new rides must be subject to “further development applications and consents.”

This is not the first time Luna Park has been in the news. In the 1990s residents near the amusement park, including architect Harry Seidler, complained about the noise created by the Big Dipper, which led to having the ride’s hours of operation cut and, some say, the eventual demise of the park (the park shut down in 1996 and was reopened in 2004).

Noise complaints plagued the fun park again in 2007 when residents in Milsons Point expressed objections to the Ranger and Spider, and again in 2015, but this time with the 37-metre Hair Raiser.

The Luna Park face has smiled over Sydney Harbour since the fun park opened in 1935. It was placed on the State Heritage Register in 2010.