Campbelltown Council rejects housing proposal for Scenic Hills

Vital: Ben Moroney does not support any development in the Scenic Hills.

Vital: Ben Moroney does not support any development in the Scenic Hills.

Residents looking to establish a subdivision at Varroville were dealt a blow last week with Campbelltown councillors voting not to progress the planning proposal to the next stage.

GAT and Associates, on behalf of the residents, sought to create a residential development which could accommodate more than 100 houses at 71 St Andrews Road, Varroville and hoped to gain council support to bring the matter before the Department of Planning and Environment.

However, despite a council staff recommendation that conditional support be given to the proposal, councillors voted not to endorse the plans and will not send the application forward for a Gateway Determination.

Greens councillor Ben Moroney said it was an easy decision for him.

"Quite simply, the Greens and I don't support any development in the Scenic Hills," he said.

"At some point you've just got to take a hard line to protect something as pristine and important as the Scenic Hills."

Cr Moroney said he wasn't swayed by the proponent's intention to provide housing diversity in the area.

"Other parts of the LGA are already shouldering that diversity of housing," he said.

"Look at Menangle Park and Gilead.

"I don't think there should be any more greenfields development in Campbelltown. Redeveloping the urban areas like we're doing with [the council's] Reimagine Campbelltown [strategic plan] is the best idea."

Cr Moroney said the Scenic Hills were too important to be compromised with any development.

"The report stated that this development would not have affected the sight lines of the Scenic Hills, but when you're cutting up something like this I think you're setting a dangerous precedent," he said.

The proponent can now elect to take their planning proposal directly to the Department of Planning and Environment, but they will face a tougher challenge without council support.

The applicants were hoping to secure planning approval for minimum lots of 300sqm and were willing to work an average lot size of 420sqm in the subdivision, as council staff suggested a minimum lot size of 420sqm.

The applicant and resident of 71 St Andrews Road said she was disappointed with the council's decision.

She said she and GAT and Associates had been working closely with the council for 20 months to see the project through.

"This has been in the pipeline for a long time," she said.

"We've worked hard to address the council staff's concerns and the Local Planning Panel's concerns.

"We actually developed a proposal that would prevent any further urban creep into the Scenic Hills."

The urbanised border of 71 St Andrews Road, Varroville

The urbanised border of 71 St Andrews Road, Varroville

The applicant said the property was in a largely urbanised environment and the proposal planned to E2 environmental zoning for parts of the site, which would add additional development protection in that part of the Scenic Hills.

"Our plan would actually prevent further development in that area, not set a dangerous precedent," she said.

"Our proposal was good because were were creating a proper, secure buffer between the residential and the Scenic Hills by locking up half the land as biobank."

The applicant said their proposal was similar to what was seen in the nearby Willowdale community.

She said they had not decided whether to take the proposal to Gateway themselves and were considering their options.

The full planning proposal is available at the council's website.