Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Greg Smith in Parliament expresses concern about units in Beecroft area

Hansard LA
17 June 2014
Mr GREG SMITH (Epping) [7.25 p.m.]: I refer to the excessive number of home units being built in many parts of my electorate despite the assurances of Hornsby Council in 2010 that the limits that it imposed at that stage would be the number of home units that would go up in those areas. In 2010, local councils, including Hornsby Council in my electorate, were required to nominate to the Department of Planning areas for rezoning to allow for the erection of home units. This caused great consternation in the Epping electorate, particularly in Carlingford, Beecroft, Thornleigh, Pennant Hills and West Pennant Hills. At that stage Epping and most of Pennant Hills were excluded as there were to be special studies into the town centres there, and that has led to a big increase in the number of units proposed for Epping. Limits were proposed as to how many units would be built in particular areas if approved. For example, in Beecroft, which is the subject of a number of development applications at the moment and an area rich in heritage with delightful gardens and homes and which up until now has not had much high-rise development at all, a limit of 244 home units was proposed. As I understand it, that figure was gazetted through the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure on 2 September 2011. However, the number of units the subject of current development applications far exceeds this figure and is causing great consternation in the area.
The module development application, as it is called, on the corner on Beecroft Road and Hannah Street, comprises 144 units. The Chapman Avenue and Wongala Crescent development application comprises 36 units. An adjacent block, numbers 1 to 5 Chapman Avenue, comprises 60 units. The Chapman Avenue and Beecroft Road development application comprises 92 units. Whilst not all
of those have been approved as yet — there have been rejections of the module development application — counting another block of units that has been approved and is under construction at the moment between Hannah Street and Copeland Road, which was affordable housing and never was anticipated to be home units as it is in a single-dwelling residential area, it is now proposed to
build 383 units rather than 244. I know that Sydney needs more accommodation for the large numbers of people who migrate to this city, mainly from overseas but sometimes from interstate, but surely areas that are more suited for high rise should be selected rather than heritage areas where the heritage will be destroyed. Properties zoned heritage are about to be overpowered by large home units. The curtilages of these heritage places often contain beautiful trees and they will be razed by these developments. I express my concern because I do not want Sydney to end up being a city of home units of various colours, for example, yellows and greens, which are very kitsch and will age very quickly. We will be left with beautiful heritage areas amongst ugly units. We should be trying to beautify this city and to protect the things of beauty in it rather than turning it into a concrete jungle.
In the past we moved many Housing Commission residents from high-rise accommodation into single dwellings in other places and country areas. We should be seeking to beautify other parts of the city and to maintain that beauty, rather than allow people to just walk all over us.

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