Sunday, July 29, 2012

DA1305 Development Hannah / Copeland Road

There was another good attendance of opponents to the development at the final JRPP hearing into this development on 26 July.  We sat through a submission on another similar development in Castle Hill first, in which the developer described the extensive community consultation they had provided including holding two town hall meetings, a very different attitude to Uniting Care’s approach.
Then it was our turn.  As always at these meetings those against the proposal speak first, then the developer can respond and the panel retires to decide.  Most of those opposing the proposal submitted that the five storey buildings are totally out of character with the heritage area in which the Uniting Care intends to build.  “Rezoning by stealth” was one phrase that stuck in the mind.  The point was made that the changed drawings make no significant improvement, and the speaker asked why Hornsby Shire Council changed its recommendation from “refuse” to “approve” based on those minor changes.
The Chairman’s legal consultant explained that Affordable housing prevails over local government planning and each council must provide sufficient affordable housing.  The audience felt that zoning the Beecroft Shopping Village for five storey mixed development provided sufficient apple scope for this!
Then the Uniting Care developers spoke, mostly talking about the exposure of the buildings from Hannah Street, which of course is the high side.  Because of the sloping ground, it’s Copeland Road that these buildings will dominate.  Their response to that was basically that the buildings will be hidden behind tall trees.  One wonders how long the tenants in the upper levels of the buildings will put up with breathtaking views being screened by those trees.
Just down the road at 109 Copeland Road, two beautiful Blue Gums have recently been poisoned with roundup.  Can we really believe that the trees Uniting Care are proposing to use as screens will survive for long?  How will Uniting Care compensate the people of Beecroft once these screening trees have been poisoned and those bulky blocks of flats are exposed to view?
But protocol meant that those opposing the development couldn’t challenge what the developers said.  Felicity Finlay, the local representative on the panel, did well, asking how what the drawings showed was a seven storey building could be hidden by trees, and pointing out that one drawing shows the building is four storeys above the existing houses on Copeland Road.  The developer quoted tree and building heights.
So the Panel retired.  They took fifty minutes deliberating, which gave those present hope that the Panel would find against the development, but when they returned there was a split decision, Felicity Finlay and Stuart McDonald voted against, and the other two voted in favour.  The Chairman Bruce McDonald, cast a second, deciding, vote in favour of the development proceeding.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update - this is so disappointing.

    Can I ask what the story is with 109 Copeland? I live within 100 m of the house and haven't noticed anything?