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.