Wollondilly Council has powerful ally in opposing Menangle development

Hume MP Angus Taylor has backed the council and does not think the development is in the right location.
Hume MP Angus Taylor has backed the council and does not think the development is in the right location.

Hume MP Angus Taylor has backed Wollondilly Council’s decision to oppose a new 5000-house development in Menangle, labelling the council’s concerns “valid”.

The Department of Planning and Environment wants to include additional Menangle land for residential homes in the proposed Greater Macarthur Priority Growth Area.

The council was asked to make a submission on a Mirvac proposal, which seeks to build 350 residential lots in stage one and a further 5000 houses in stages two and three.

Mr Taylor, who is the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, has thrown his weight behind those opposing the development.

“Menangle doesn’t have supporting services and infrastructure and we don’t make planning decisions without those considerations,” Mr Taylor said.

“The federal government wants to see an increase in housing supply in the right places.

“Council is rightly asking questions about this development.”

The total proposal is for a 557 hectare site which would see approximately 15 dwellings per hectare. 

The stage one development in Station Street, Menangle is before the Sydney South West Planning Panel. 

The bulk of 5000 new homes were proposed for the area east of the railway line, near Moreton Park Road.

Despite Mr Taylor saying supply was “key”, he has put his money where is mouth is and will oppose developments that are not supported by infrastructure.

“We need supply in the right places with the right services and infrastructure,” he said.

“The Macarthur to Glenfield corridor has a rail service and there is potential for housing there.

“Wilton New Town will sit on the highway.

“The Menangle development is very different and the council is right to be concerned.

“We don’t want stranded developments that don’t have connections.”

Mayor Judith Hannan was pleased to have Mr Taylor’s support and was glad he understood that there were other areas in the shire that were more appropriate for development.

“Menangle is not the appropriate place,” she said. “We need to protect our rural lifestyle.

“We have Wilton New Town on the table and there are other areas that should be looked at before Menangle.”

Cr Hannan said Wollondilly was taking “more than its fair share of housing”.

“We are willing to do that if we are given the resources to do it and the infrastructure,” she said.

“We don’t want any development without infrastructure, education, health and jobs.

“If we get those specific things in a suitable area then we are willing to take our fair share of development.”

All councillors strongly objected to the proposal at the last council meeting.

Councillor Noel Lowry vehemently opposed the plan because he does not want to see the rich agricultural land and history at Menangle lost.

“We can not find any better agricultural land and I can not watch this piece of history evaporate,” he said.

“How can the [state] government suggest this area is the right place for development?”

Cr Banasik said this development opposed the shire’s ethos of rural living.

“The heritage of the area is amazing – there is Camden Park, Gilbulla, Menangle Store and the rotolactor site,” he said.

“This development just ain’t rural living.”

Cr Gould labelled the proposal as “blatantly ridiculous” and said the council had to defend the pristine land.

“This land in Menangle is some of the best agricultural land in Australia,” he said.

“We don’t need this development to meet our housing target and it is inconsistent with everything this council is working [towards].”

Cr Banasik was also concerned about the lack of infrastructure in the area as the current roads could not accommodate the level of growth.

The council has several concerns about the development outlined in a report.

It is worried about losing the scenic views of Menangle, the impact the development would have on agricultural land and on the Appin poultry cluster.

Council raised concerns about insufficient infrastructure in Menangle, that residents of the new development would be car dependent and the historic Menangle Railway Station would need to be upgraded.

The report said the proposal was inconsistent with the shire’s vision for the future, there were concerns that no master plan had been developed and the council wanted to focus on delivering Wilton New Town.

The council also said it did not need more houses because it was on target to achieve its housing goal.

Cr Lowry ended by saying Sydney should be filled internally not through urban sprawl.

“If we can’t defend from urban sprawl at our boundaries than what can we defend?”