“Wrong densities, wrong location” says Hills Shire Mayor

Mayor of the Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne, has described two planning proposals rejected by Council as ‘the wrong densities in the wrong location’.

The original and amended proposals for apartment towers in Barrawarn Place, as well as a proposal for a complex in Garthowen Crescent – both within 800m of the new Castle Hill station – were rejected at the Council meeting of Tuesday 9 August.

“These proposals were right on the edge of the 800m catchment for the new train station, at the interface with existing single lot housing,” Mayor Byrne said.

“Both proposals were just too much for that location – that sort of density has a place and that place is in the town centre closer to the station,” she said.

Mayor Byrne said Council’s Corridor Strategy had carefully planned for heights at the core of the station zone, decreasing as the distance from the station increased. Travel behaviour, or ‘walkability’, was also considered, with the likelihood of residents walking to the station much less at greater distances.

“We understand that densities are coming with the arrival of the rail line, but we want to see sensible development, not just what makes economic sense to the developer of the day,” Mayor Byrne said.

“These buildings will be here for the long term, so we need to get it right the first time.”

“What was put before us on both occasions went against not only our own Corridor Strategy, but also disregarded modern transport-orientated town planning principles,” she said.

Mayor Byrne said one of the biggest challenges Council faces is planning for a growing population while preserving the character of the existing suburbs.

“The bulk and scale of the rejected proposals was way out of line with our vision of the area, and rather than submitting ambit claims for higher and higher density, we would like to see proposals that offer quality housing that is compatible with the existing community and acknowledges Council’s plans.”