ROSE GROUP'S plan for a 554-lot subdivision at Catherine Hill Bay is in jeopardy if the Coalition wins the March election.

The NSW Planning Department is assessing Rose Group's plan under Labor's part 3A planning powers.

The Liberals have promised to scrap the part 3A law and hand power back to councils.

Lake Macquarie City Council has always opposed Rose Group's plans at Catherine Hill Bay, south of Newcastle.

The Planning Minister, Tony Kelly, would not say whether he would make a decision on the development before the election.

But comments from his office indicated a decision was unlikely.

The Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association was concerned Mr Kelly would approve the plan before the election. ''We fear it will be pushed through quickly in a rush,'' the president, Sue Whyte, said.

Mr Kelly's spokesman said it was not possible to speculate on when a decision will be made, ''partly because the developer will be asked to respond to submissions and the NSW government can't comment on how long this might take''. Mr Kelly said Rose Group's plan would be sent to the planning assessment commission for determination and his department would accept public comment on the plan until February 7.

The Liberal candidate for Swansea, a Lake Macquarie councillor, Garry Edwards, said Rose Group's plans for Catherine Hill Bay were ''always too grand a scale, too big''.

''The residents must accept some development down there, but they don't have to accept what's being proposed,'' Cr Edwards said.

The Liberal Party action plan said it was committed to ''returning local planning powers to local communities through their councils … We will scrap part 3A''.

The Liberals would begin ''an overhaul of the planning system soon after March 2011''.

Rose Group was forced to submit its latest plan to the Planning Department after a land deal between the developer and the government was ruled illegal.

The Land and Environment Court said in September 2009 that the deal, which involved development rights in exchange for environmental land, was a ''land bribe''.