New tourism facility proposed in Picton

Belgenny Farm is a similar facility located in Camden.
Belgenny Farm is a similar facility located in Camden.

Visitors to Picton could soon be treated to a taste of farming life if plans for a new tourism precinct are approved.

Wollondilly councillors will vote on the draft planning proposal for 350 Barkers Lodge Road, Picton at next week’s council meeting.

The proposal for the tourism facility includes an exhibition pavilion, guest accommodation, guest friendly ‘working farms,’ ‘paddock to plate’ restaurants, education facilities for cooking classes and a wastewater treatment plant.

The plans submitted by Precise Planning on behalf of Mr D H Vincent and Mrs L Vincent also include a rural residential development “mitigate the financial risks of developing the tourism facility”.

Council staff have recommended that councillors support the tourism plans for the site.

Wollondilly mayor Judith Hannan said the council was always open to new tourism opportunities.

“We’re always looking for more opportunities to accommodate tourism in the shire,” she said.

“We have a beautiful environment and that hill is really beautiful, it’s kind of a natural bowl.

“This is the sort of thing we have been looking for all along.”

However the report does not support the rural residential development section of the site.

Council staff also stated that the proposal was not suitable under the Metropolitan Rural Area (MRA) guidelines.

The guidelines were created to protect agricultural land.

“Due to the site’s location within the MRA, the proposed rural-residential component, either in the form of an R5 Large Lot Residential land use zone or an E4 Environmental Living land use zone, is not supported by regional and district plans or by council’s strategic direction for growth,” the report states.

The planning proposal will be forwarded to the Greater Sydney Commission for a gateway determination pending approval at Monday’s meeting.