Plea to protect historic Kearns property

Concerned: Kearns residents opposed to a proposed subdivision on land where the state significant Epping Forest House is located. Picture: Simon Bennett
Concerned: Kearns residents opposed to a proposed subdivision on land where the state significant Epping Forest House is located. Picture: Simon Bennett

Located among a sea of Kearns rooftops, stands a 200-year-old Georgian bungalow surrounded by farmland.

A group of vocal locals are determine to make sure that the heritage-listed Epping Forest House – and the property it’s situated on – remains intact.

In 2017, Campbelltown Council refused a development application to subdivide the land that the state significant house was located on.

The council’s director of city development Jim Baldwin said it was rejected “primarily” due to a lack of information which meant the application could not be adequately assessed.

The applicant appealed the decision in the Land and Environment Court in late 2017.

As part of the court proceedings, an on-site meeting was held last week.

Nearby residents who are opposed to the subdivision, including Naomi Neill, also spoke at the on-site meeting.

“Kearns feels like a semi-rural suburb,” she said.

“It (the property) adds to the atmosphere and feel of Kearns.

“I enjoy looking at the old shed. It’s beautiful and it’s very peaceful.”

Fellow resident Annie Williden moved from Helensburgh to Kearns 20 years ago.

She said having the farm and the historic house near her own home was what convinced her to move to the area.

“As I saw it, (the heritage property) was the selling point,” she said.

“There are cows at the front of the block. When I first moved here there were six big ones, now there are two calves.

“Sometimes you here them in the middle of the night and it’s gorgeous.”

Mrs Williden said historic farm land and green space was being ripped up in the name of development all throughout Campbelltown, but she hoped the Epping House Forest property would not follow suit.

“It’s a battle to hold onto land,” she said.

“We are losing so much of our land with the Scenic Hills (cemetery) and the farmland at Hurlstone (Agricultural High School).

“Can’t we keep at least keep something pristine?”

Fellow resident Kris Philpott said she “devastated” when she learned of the proposed subdivision.

“Every time we have visitors over we’ll go for a walk to look at the house and the cows,” she said.

“It’s something I thought would be there forever.

“It would be a shame for it to disappear.”

The details of what the applicant intends to do with the property have not be made publicly available, as the development application did not make it to the public exhibition stage.

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