Sunday, December 2, 2012

DA1305 Uniting Care Hannah Street

A number of local residents have contacted the Trust concerned about a letter from HSC alerting to changes at the Uniting Care 41 unit development between Hannah St and Copeland Rd.
The relevant document is so hard to find amongst the masses of documents listed on the net, and then takes so long to download onto my IPad, that it took a while to find out what it involves.  It appears to be just a modification to the roof line of the presently approved buildings.  So no need at this stage to object.  We will study the application in more detail and alert all Beecroft and Cheltenham residents if there is anything more to the proposal than this.

Friday, November 23, 2012

NWRL - Trust Submission

On the 29 October 2012 the NSW Government released the Second
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS2) for the North West Rail Link (NWRL)
How it will affect local residents:
 * Passengers travelling on the Northern Line from Beecroft and Cheltenham, who currently enjoy a direct run into the city on one train, will be forced to change at Epping for a single deck train. At Chatswood, they will then need to change again back to a double deck train to get to the CBD.
* That means having to get three trains into the city increasing travel time by 15 minutes rather than the one seamless system they enjoy now.
The introduction of this incompatible component is unacceptable.

Minister Berejiklian has stated that this will create great disruption for commuters on the Northern Line.
The NWRL is a much needed project for Western Sydney but it should not be a metro line. The distance is far too long for metro style transport. The tunnels should be built large enough for current double deck trains to allow its integration into the current rail system.
Lodge your objection to EIS2 by December 3 2012.
Name & Address……………………………………………………………………
Application number SSI-5414
A brief statement (in support of your objection to the proposal)
Your reason(s) (for objecting to the proposal)
SEND YOUR SUMISSION BY - December 3-2012 to:
Post – Major Projects Assessment Dept. of Planning & Infrastructure GPO Box 39 Sydney NSW 2000
Fax to – 02 9228 6355

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NWRL Acquisition of Land Below Houses

Transport for NSW is sending out 16 page letters to every house above the planned corridor for the NWRL, beginning the formal acquisition process for the land beneath people's houses where the tunnel requires access.
It includes statements like "Clause 2 of Schedule 6B of the Transport Administration Act 1988 (attached) provides that no compensation is payable ... ".

Thursday, November 15, 2012

ETTT - Expert questions Bridge Safety

The Trust received a copy of a submission on the ETTT by a highly qualified railway engineering specialist.  It includes many alarming statements on issues from track safety to noise and environmental polution.  The following very well researched statement is one example:

"The overbridges at Chapman Avenue and Cheltenham Road would not perform as well as the original Granville overbridge if a freight train derailed affecting either bridge.  If a pier was demolished the bridge would collapse straight away.  This actually applies to most prestressed concrete overbridges on the proposed freight corridor." 

The Trust has raised concerns on this issue with particular relevance to the very tight bends and steep grade along the Beecroft /  Cheltenham stretch of track, which makes derailment there a significantly higher possibility than elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Epping Thornleigh Third Rail - NTTAG submission

This post contains a few selected extracts from the EIS, with comments by the No Third Track Action Group in their submission.

The EIS talks of the Intersection of Beecroft Road and The Crescent, where they intend to have a construction compound and two access gates. 
NTTAG points out that this access, with the turn off into Kirkham Street, is already a traffic black spot, and the North West Rail Link intends to put heavy spoil and construction traffic up Kirkham Street at the same time as the ETTT is bringing construction traffic into the intersection.

Loss of Parking for Shoppers in Beecroft Village
The EIS claims there should be no problem with 200 construction personnel coming in by road each weekday, and parking in the many vacant parking spots around the village.  Presumably they will be starting work at 7am. 
NTTAG says, pity the poor shoppers looking for spaces after 9am!

The EIS advises there will be a construction camp in Old Beecroft Road!
NTTAG says the only exit is via the intersection onto Beecroft Road which is already hazardous with just local residents of Old Beecroft Road trying to get in and out.  Without traffic lights, trucks pulling out into fast flowing traffic pose serious hazards.

The EIS identifies a need to close and modify the bridge over the motorway, including closure of lanes and diversion of traffic on the M2. 
NTTAG says that, after two years of torment during the unwanted M2 Widening Project, a backlash of commuter fury can be expected!

EIS Para 5.7.1 says this program is only indicative -
NTTAG says "You are indicating it could take more than 45 months (ie 4 years +) and you believe this is an acceptable time frame to subject a community to excessive noise, excessive traffic, real safety concerns for our kids, loss of community facilities and services, pollution and that is just the construction period.  Rebuilding the Beecroft Rail Bridge a couple of years ago was proposed to take 8 months but took 18 months". 
EIS same para advises that sections of the main north line would need to be closed to undertake some of this work and buses would be used instead.  Just what the roads around Beecroft need during the chaos of coincident construction of the EFFT and NWRL!

EIS proposes to do major earthworks etc during night time and weekends, with indication of 12 heavy vehicle movements per hour.
NTTAG says this noise will be even worse for sleep deprivation than the finished rail freight system.

EIS proposes 24 hours per day working for five days between Christmas and New Year at end of 2014
NTTAG asks, what about family gatherings to celebrate Chrismas and a joyous new year?

EIS Para 5.8.1 forecasts 150 to 200 light vehicles accessing the site on a typical working day, up to 400 during rail closures, plus 120 light vehicles associated with the project office.
(and so on!)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NWRL Effect on Beecroft and Cheltenham

The following is a letter from a resident of Cheltenham that seems to summarise a problem the Trust is concerned with.

Catch the train? NWRL will remove your Direct Rail Link to the City.

On 29 October the NSW Government released the second Environmental Impact Statement (EIS2) for the North West Rail Link (NWRL).

EIS2 confirms that the NWRL will greatly disrupt passengers from Cheltenham, Beecroft, Pennant Hills, Normanhurst and Thornleigh want to go to the City or North Sydney.

The existing Epping to Chatswood Rail Line (ECRL) will be changed so that it will only run single deck trains between Epping and Chatswood. These lines will not be compatible with the current double deck network.

Passengers from Cheltenham, Beecroft, Pennant Hills, Normanhurst and Thornleigh will have to catch three trains to get to the city via Chatswood, instead of the single direct route we now enjoy. These residents will have to change first at Epping (to a single deck - which is likely to be crowded) and then wait and change again at Chatswood (back to a double deck train coming down the North Shore line from Hornsby).

This will mean:
  • you are more likely to be standing on your trip,
  • increased travel times,
  • more cars forced back onto the roads in these areas, and
  • the removal of a convenient train link to the city is likely to drive down property prices in these areas.
Lodge an objection to EIS2 to have your voice heard. Here’s How:
The only way to be heard is to voice your concern. Make a submission to EIS2 objecting to the proposal:
Submissions are due by 3 December 2012 and must include:

1.     Your name and address;
2.     The name of your application;
3.     The application number (SSl-5414);
4.     A brief statement on whether you support or object to the proposal; and
5.     The reasons why you support or object to the proposal.

Your submission should be marked “Attention: Director, Infrastructure Projects” and can be:
  • Emailed to:
  • Faxed to (02) 9228 6355
  • OR Posted to Major Projects Assessment, Department of Planning and lnfrastructure, GPO Box 39, Sydney, NSW 2001.
Transport NSW will also hold an information session about the NWRL at the Epping Club on 22 November from 4pm- 8pm. If you can, attend the session and tell them your concerns.
For more info also see:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2nd EIS for NWRL

The second environmental assessment (EIS2) for the North West Rail Link project is now on exhibition.
EIS2 focuses on:
·         Design and operation of the eight new railway stations at Cherrybrook, Castle Hill, Showground (formerly Hills Centre), Norwest, Bella Vista, Kellyville, Rouse Hill and Cudgegong Road
·         Design and operation of the skytrain
·         Commuter parking for 4,000 cars
·         How the rapid transit rail link operates, including the new generation single deck trains announced as part of Sydney’s Rail Future
·         Transport interchanges
·         Areas around the railway stations
·         Rail infrastructure like railway tracks and signalling systems.
For an interactive look at the North West Rail Link, click here -
To view a summary or a full version of EIS2, click here -
For information on how to make a submission, click here -

If you would like more information, attend one of our community information sessions:

·         Thursday 8 November, 4pm–8pm
Crowne Plaza Norwest, 1 Columbia Court, Baulkham Hills
·         Saturday 10 November, 10am–2pm
Cherrybrook Uniting Church, 134 New Line Road, Cherrybrook
·         Thursday 15 November, 4pm–8pm
North West Rail Link, Community Information Centre,
299 Old Northern Road, (corner of Crane Road), Castle Hill
·         Saturday 17 November, 10am–2pm
Rouse Hill Town Centre, Level 1, Link Lane, off Main Street, Rouse Hill
·         Thursday 22 November, 4pm–8pm
Epping Club, 45–47 Rawson Street, Epping

Monday, October 29, 2012

M2 Progress and Completion Dates

In response to a query by the Trust, the M2 Project responds:

The current program is on track for completion of Murray Farm Road Bridge by the summer holiday period in December. The traffic lights will be removed and normal two-way operation of the bridge will be restored for motorists. Please note this is subject to weather and any technical issues which may arise during the final bridgeworks activities to be undertaken over the next two months.

In regard to remediation under Devlins Creek Bridge, the project team is required to reinstate the area to its condition prior to the start of construction. The remediation program is 30% complete, with full reinstatement currently programmed for January 2013.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

No Left Turn onto Albert Road

A letter has been received from Hornsby Shire Council Traffic and Road Safety Branch, proposing to install "No Left Turn" signs on the entrance to Albert Road off Beecroft Road for traffic going south.  Their objective is to improve morning traffic in the northern end of Wongala Crescent during school drop off times.
The Civic Trust has reservations about this proposal, which will force such traffic to turn left onto Chapman Avenue, and then left again into that section of Wongala Crescent.  There is already too much congestion on Beecroft Road approaching Chapman Avenue in the morning.  Increasing the number of cars turning left onto Chapman Avenue will compound the Beecroft Road traffic problem.
The Trust believes that developments including the Northern Rail Freight Corridor, with changes to car parking and major construction, and the development of the Beecroft Shopping Centre to five storeys with anticipated huge increase in traffic demand, mandate a comprehensive review of all traffic arrangements affecting Beecroft Road.  Installing a couple of No Turn signs to force more cars to drive into the Beecroft/Chapman bottleneck area is not the solution.
Submissions are required by cob Monday 12 November.  Please consider, and whatever you decide have your say by writing, subject "Proposed No Left Turn into Albert Road (East)", to
The General Manager
Hornsby Shire Council,
PO Box 37
NSW 1630,
email to

Monday, October 8, 2012

Third Rail Project Information

Information Sessions on the Epping to Thornleigh Third Track will be held at
Cheltenham Recreation Club, Wednesday 10 October between 5 and 8pm
Beecroft Community Centre, Saturday 20 October between 10am and 1 pm
The BCCT will have representatives outside these meetings with a submission to sign opposing the project. Please speak to them.

Thursday, October 4, 2012 BCCT Website

The Trust's website went down for a few days, but is back up now, at the original internet addy.  Unfortunately you may not be able to open it if your computer still has links to the old site, for some technical reason you have to flush out that old link before the site comes up.  If you have this problem email us at and we will send instructions how to flush the links.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Beecroft Cheltenham History Group Website

The History Group associated with the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust has opened a new Website at 

The History Group is very keen to hear from anyone who is interested in contributing stories, photos, historical items or knowledge about buildings or events relevant to our history in Beecroft or Cheltenham. Any information to add to or correct information on this web site will be gratefully received.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Third Rail Project Community Information Sessions

Thursday 4 Oct Pennant Hills Leisure and Learning, 8 Warne Street, Pennant Hills, 4pm – 7pm.
Wednesday 10 Oct Cheltenham Recreation Club, 60-74 The Crescent, Cheltenham, 5pm – 8pm.

Saturday 20 Oct Beecroft Community Centre, 111 Beecroft Rd, Beecroft, 10am - 1pm.

Project Infoline 1800 684 490.
Submissions close Monday 5 November, to
Director Infrastructure Projects
Epping to Thornleigh Third Track Project - SSI 5132
NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure
GPO Box 39
NSW 2001

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

M2 Roadworks over Long Weekend

Delays are expected on the Hills M2 during the Labour Day long weekend.  Major road work will be undertaken on the motorway between Pennant Hills Road, West Pennant Hills and Lane Cove Road, Macquarie Park from 8pm Friday 29 September to 5am Tuesday 2 October.
Traffic will be diverted onto the opposite carriageway to where the work is being undertaken. At least one lane will remain open in both directions.

The following ramps will be closed during the work:
• Lane Cove Road on-ramps between 9am and 7pm Saturday 29, Sunday 30 September and Monday 1 October
• Herring Road on-ramp between 8 pm Friday, 28 September and 5am Tuesday, 2 October

• Pennant Hills Road and Beecroft Road on-ramps between 9am and 7pm Saturday 29, Sunday 30 September and Monday 1 October
• Lane Cove Road off-ramp between 7pm Saturday 29 September and 6am Sunday 30 September

Please follow the signs and drive to the 40km/h roadwork speed limit.
Consider using alternative routes such as Pennant Hills, Epping and Carlingford roads. Clearways will be in place in both directions along the alternative routes.
For more information, visit hillsm2 or call 1800 196 266. We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Third Rail Freight Corridor EIS

The EIS is on public exhibition from Wednesday 19 September to Monday 5 November 2012 and written submissions are invited during this time. The exhibition process allows for feedback from the community and other stakeholders to be considered and may result in modifications and improvements to the ETTT proposal. The EIS can be viewed at the following locations near Beecroft:

Hornsby Shire Council
296 Pacific Highway, Hornsby
Mon–Fri: 8:30am–5pm

Hornsby Library
28-44 George Street, Hornsby
Mon–Fri: 10am–9pm
Sat: 9:30am–5pm
Sun: 2pm–5pm

Pennant Hills Library
Corner Ramsay & Yarrara Roads, Pennant Hills
Mon–Fri: 10am–9pm
Sat: 10am–4pm
Sun: 2pm–5pm

Epping Library
Chambers Court (off Pembroke Street), Epping
Mon–Fri: 10am–9pm
Sat: 9:30am–12pm
Sun: 2pm–5pm

A community information meeting will be held on Wednesday 10 October at the Cheltenham Recreational Club 60-74 The Crescent, Cheltenham 5.00pm to 8.00pm.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

BCCT Spring Walk

26 August, another successful spring walk.  Weather perfect, 40 people, many regulars and a few new comers. Afternoon tea much appreciated. Plenty of wildflowers along the way. Thanks to Rod Best for two informative talks on the origin of public reserves in Beecroft and the 1906 murder spree in Thornleigh, Pennant Hills and Beecroft.

Trees at 109 Copeland Road

On Saturday morning a tree felling company was caught trying to fell the poisoned Blue Gum trees at 109 Copeland Road, obviously making room for a nice big development.  Fortunately neighbours complained, and called a BCCT Committee member, who asked to see the approval documentation.  Responses varied from "The boss has it" to "We don't need one the trees are dead".  Council was called and we hope and trust that they will refuse any DA which attempts to exploit the land where these lovely trees lived and died.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Beecroft Cheltenham History Group Web Site

The new web site of the Beecroft Cheltenham History Group is being launched by noted local historian Andrew Tink at 8.00 pm on Friday 7 September 2012. The launch will take place as part of the celebration to open Beecroft in Bloom. It will take place in the Uniting Church Hall, Beecroft Road Beecroft with reservations available through Lions.

As soon as this History Group web site is working well the Trust will convert the present BCCT web site at to the same format, allowing much more control over content.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What the Trust said to Hornsby Shire Council

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to speak.  I am speaking on behalf of the Trust regarding DA 1305/2011, to build five storey blocks of flats within the Beecroft heritage area in land that is zoned AS Low Density.
The Trust, and many other individuals and organisations, tried to defeat this development on the grounds that it is unwanted, unnecessary, and unsuitable.  However the JRPP approved the proposal by the casting vote of the chairman.  This could become a precedent that results in a flood of high rise developments going into the cherished heritage triangle of Beecroft and Cheltenham.
To prevent that happening, we ask the Council to examine the legal basis for this application, which appears to warrant an unbiased second opinion.  I will get to that issue in a moment.
As I said, this development is indisputably unwanted, unnecessary, and unsuitable.  Unwanted because it is unanimously opposed by all those who have commented on it.  The project was displayed at Christmas 2011 while many residents were on holiday.  Coincidence, or a deliberate ploy to stifle opposition? The Trust only realised what the DA involved late in the submission period and did not have time to notify the local population other than by email to Trust members.  Requests for an extension of the submission deadline to allow wider dissemination of the details were rejected, and so very few of the affected residents had a chance to respond.  Even so nearly 250 submissions were received, all opposed to the development. The Hornsby Shire Council planning department produced an excellent report recommending rejection.  At two Joint Regional Planning Panel meetings many speakers opposed the development and the only people who have ever supported the development were the seven speakers representing the developers.  It is regrettable that the conflict of interest of those speakers was not recorded in the JRPP minutes.
As Councillor Hutchence explained at the JRPP, the development is unnecessary.  The HSC has gazetted the entire Beecroft Shopping Centre for five stories, with perhaps 500 new units available.  The 46 units proposed by Uniting Care are irrelevant in that context.
It must be remembered that an application to build three storey residential units on this block of land has already been approved, and the applicant could proceed with that plan without opposition.  Deciding to go for five storeys seems to be motivated purely by profit.
The development is also totally unsuitable.  Nobody can rationally claim that five storey slab buildings are in character with a low density heritage-recognised area.  At the first JRPP, the developer simply stated that he believed it was in character, met by snorts of derision from the hundred or so protesters present.  At the second hearing the applicant attempted to justify the "in character" claim by saying the five storey buildings would be hidden by tall trees.  Fine if those trees will live throughout the life of the building, but they won’t.  When the residents of the units find trees blocking their view, someone will poison those trees in order to obtain breath-taking views over the city!  Will Uniting Care replace the poisoned trees with plastic replicas?  Trees have recently been poisoned on 109 Copeland Road.  In years ahead the residents can sit on their balconies and watch the New Year fire-works, while the locals have to look up at these obscene five storey buildings and wonder how they were permitted.  And of even greater concern is that other developers will use these to justify further high rise buildings within the AS Low Density heritage area.
Having heard the arguments, the JRPP panel voted two for and two against the proposal.  Bruce Macdonald, chairman of the JRPP, used his casting vote in favour of the applicant, to cries of shame from the floor.  The application was thus approved by the JRPP by the very narrowest of margins.  
So now the question must be asked, whether the proposed five storey development is legal. The DA applicant’s glib answer to this question is “plainly ‘yes’”.  The Trust takes a different view.  We say that the issue is not plain.  The wording of the relevant regulations are very complex and may well disallow the application.
I do not intend to present a case against the developer’s legal argument, that being a matter for consideration by those with appropriate expertise.  That said, I do emphasise that this issue is very serious in terms of the whole future of the Beecroft heritage area.  The Trust submits that the Council should seek an independent evaluation of the issue by its own properly qualified legal specialists. 
I have in this presentation tried to show that a very large body of residents are unanimously opposed to this application, fearful that it will lead to further destruction of our heritage area.  The application must be rigorously and scrupulously examined and not permitted against the wishes of the residents unless it is unambiguously legal.  Even then the justification for going to five storeys whereas three have already been approved should be challenged.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DA1305 Legal Case to be Tested

At the Hornsby Shire Council Meeting on Wednesday night there was a loud burst of applause from the many Beecroft residents observing when the Council unanimously agreed a motion by Michael Hutchence, seconded Robert Browne, under an Urgency debate, to send the legal deposition by the Uniting Care developers for independent examination.
It is rumoured that the Trust's email campaign urging people to contact the councillors had been very effective, so well done all those who took part.
As always nobody defended Uniting Care's decision to construct these five storey blocks of flats in the Beecroft heritage area.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Meet Your Candidates

The previous post listed the candidates for the Hornsby Shire Council elections in September.  The BCCT is hosting a "Meet the Candidates" evening at the Cheltenham Recreation Club on 27 August starting at 7:30pm.

C Ward HSC Council Election Candidates

Candidate NameLocalityParty
AZIZI BernadetteBEECROFTIndependent
WHELAN PeterGLENORIELiberal Democrats
FOWLER GrahamARCADIALiberal Democrats
CROKER JenniferEPPINGLiberal

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Council forces Height Reduction for Developments

From SMH today:
Ku-ring-gai Council has overturned recommendations from its staff and slashed the size of 18 high rise projects.
The developers are complaining this will cost them millions, but the question must be asked what right do developers have to expect to make such immense profits if it is against the wishes of local residents and rate payers?

DA 1305 UnitingCare development Beecroft

Following advice received by the Trust, local residents are asked to email or write to each of the Hornsby Shire Councillors listed below, with wording like the following. The draft wording is self-explanatory. Feel free to vary the email as you wish.

"I am a resident of Beecroft / Cheltenham. I understand that the developer’s legal opinion on which the approval of development application DA1305 was based has not been tested. I understand that Council is now considering obtaining its own advice. I remain strongly opposed to the development in its approved form. I urge you to support obtaining this advice and, if it finds against the application then I urge you to support a challenge to the approval."

Given that the JRPP has approved the application, based on the legal opinion contained in the application, time is of the essence.

Please send emails immediately, to each of the following:
and also A and B ward councillors as follows:
or write to Hornsby Shire Council, PO Box 37, Hornsby NSW 1630, “attention Nick Berman, Scott Phillips, Robert Browne, Michael Hutchence, Andrew Martin”.
For more information email

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Planning System for NSW

The Trust has received a very large document (91 pages) titled "A New Planning System for NSW - Green Paper".  The Green Paper will be on public exhibition until Friday 14 September and submissions and feedback are encouraged.

You can register your interest, and participate in the online forum, by contacting

If anyone wishes to view the document without sending off for a copy or visiting HSC, it will be kept in Beecroft Shopping Villlage at Ray White Beecroft, ask for Peter Hewitt, secretary of BCCT.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

BCCT Spring Walk

Sunday 26 August start at 2pm at the end of Day Rd Cheltenham.  Finish Day Rd 4pm with afternoon tea.  Being national park, no dogs allowed.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Trees at 109 Copeland Road

Following the last blog about the JRPP Copeland Road development, people have asked about the 109 Copeland Road trees.

Since the auction of 109 Copeland Rd, the two trees at the north end of the block both have 1 inch holes bored into them with roundup added, and the leaves are already dying.  The Trust wrote to Council suggesting that any future DA should require the requisite area around the trees (10m or whatever) to be retained in perpetuity clear of development even after the trees have died and been removed, and that the owner should be responsible for planting new trees when that happens.

But that solution won't affect the DA1305 project because the development will have been completed and there will be no way to punish whoever poisons the trees in front of a multi-occupancy block of flats!

NWRL Submission Report

From NWRL Project:
The North West Rail Link has reached another planning milestone. The Submissions Report has been lodged with the Department of Planning and Infrastructure. The report addresses issues raised by the community, local businesses, government agencies and councils to the first Environmental Impact Statement. It is now available to view by visiting

One relevant item from the report is:

Cheltenham: The size of the construction site will be reduced by 2,250m2, cutting the amount of bushland that needs to be cleared. A previously proposed access road to the site from Castle Howard Rd will no longer be required, with access for light vehicles to the site to be from existing roads used to get to Cheltenham Oval;

The detail about the Cheltenham site is in Part 6, paras 6-43 to 6-46:
The plan still shows the construction of a concrete dual lane road out to Kirkham Street, with only the comment "Possible access from/egress to M2 Motorway" indicating what the Trust believes is the only sensible solution to this requirement. 
We do NOT want 1000 trucks transporting excavated soil through Beecroft, when they could go straight onto the motorway!  Nor would the NWRL be happy with just the Beecroft fire engine if there's a problem down under later on, with all the massed emergency service vehicles from the M2 and other regions queuing up to get onto Kirkham Street!

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.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

DA1305 Lost by a Whisker

After some excellent speeches, all against the proposal, the JRPP took 50 minutes to deliberate their verdict, finally voting two against (Felicity Finlay and Stuart McDonald) and two for.  The Chairman, Bruce McDonald used his position as Chairman to cast the deciding vote in favour of the UnitingCare development.
A fuller report of the meeting will be posted soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

M2-F3 Tunnel Link

Transurban has offered to build a tunnel under Pennant Hills Road connecting the F3 at Wahroonga with the M2 at West Pennant Hills.  Roads Minister Duncan Gay says the cost of this has yet to be determined.  "The government would consider the community benefit of the tunnel over the next six months."

The BCCT is firmly of the view that the funding for this project and the Third Rail Northern Freight Rail Corridor project should be combined and put toward the only long term proposal that anyone has considered, "The Northern Solution" of a new road and rail link from Kariong across the Hawkesbury and down to the M7 at Dean Park.  This was Option C in the Federal Government's study in 2002.  In that study, Option A was selected, pretty much what is now proposed, because it was cheaper than Option C - estimated costs c$2B for Option A and $3.6B for Option C in 2003 dollars.

Of course that version of Option C didn't include the rail link, but doing the road and rail link together would enormously reduce the costs of land acquistion, bridge building, and so on, where the terrain allows the two to run together.

The one thing that seems clear is that Option A for trucks and the NRFC third (and possibly fourth) rail for freight trains remain frought with long term problems including pollution and noise, as well as concentrating all the inter-state traffic (that should be going around our city) in perpetuity.  After building Option A and the NRFC, it seems improbable that future politicians would ever build the proper solution to the state's traffic and rail freight problems.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You should be interested in this!

This excellent article is taken directly from the Pennant Hills District Civic Trust newsletter.

If you haven’t been interested up to now you should be from now on with the NSW Government proposing new planning laws that will limit community involvement to ‘broad area’ development
planning and deny them the opportunity to object to a development ‘next door’.
It so happens that Hornsby Council has a revised Hornsby Shire LEP and a new DCP on exhibition now with submissions closing on August 7. Driven by Government to have a common LEP format across all shires and a single ‘all purpose” Shire DCP (replacing in Hornsby’s case 32 subject specific DCP’s) the result is the 583 pages currently on exhibition.
It might have been easier to respond to if the new LEP and DCP were just a transposition from the old format to the new without introducing any changes, but this is not the case. For example:
- Pennant Hills and West Pennant Hills are predominantly zoned ‘Low Density Residential’ with the intensity and scale of development controlled under the existing LEP by the minimum lot size of 500 sqm (unchanged) and Floorspace Ratio (FSR) which is not in the new LEP.
- Council advises that this control is now covered in the new DCP but when the detail is examined the FSR has increased by 65% and the Site Coverage by 25%.
- The existing DCP restricts dwelling house height on battleaxe lots to single storey. The new DCP does not.
- Council advises that it was impractical to continue this restriction so a 2 storey/8.5m high building is now
permissible in a battleaxe lot.
- The 5 storey Residential Flat Development for the Fisher Avenue / Trebor Road block in central Pennant Hills was approved on the basis of its “relatively low” traffic generation and with no traffic improvement measures.
The new DCP differs.
- the new DCP includes a ‘median’ strip on Trebor Road from Pennant Hills Road to the corner with Fisher Avenue. Why ? Has Council’s estimate of “43 dwellings within this precinct” changed? And what is the new number?
Issues such as these must be addressed by Council, but the advent of Council’s elections in September is important
in this context. Any pre-election attempt to fast track the LEP and DCP approval needs watching.
The new Council must not be provided with the ‘out’ that the new LEP and DCP are a fait accompli.