Gledswood Hills residents angry about plans to remove estate park

Hands off: Gledswood Hill residents are fighting plans to replace landscaped greenspace at the front of their estate with new housing. Picture: Simon Bennett
Hands off: Gledswood Hill residents are fighting plans to replace landscaped greenspace at the front of their estate with new housing. Picture: Simon Bennett

A developer's plans to replace landscaped green space at the entrance to The Hermitage estate with housing has angered hundreds of residents.

More than 1300 people have signed a petition calling on developer Sekisui House to leave the "beautiful park, playground and trees" along Fairbank Drive alone.

The site currently houses the estate sales office, numerous large eucalyptus trees which are decorated with fairy lights and lit up at night, a playground, car park and landscaped gardens.

Sekisui House wants to subdivide the land and has lodged a development application with Camden Council seeking permission to construct 13 two-storey houses on the site.

If approved, the sales office, playground and car park will be demolished and the trees removed.

Resident Lisa Frost, one of the first people to sign the petition, said Sekisui House had worked hard to craft an environmenally-friendly image for itself, touting the use of recycled products in its houses and imposing strict landscaping conditions on housing.

She said the numerous beautiful parks throughout the estate was what set Gledswood Hills apart from neighbouring communities.

"We paid a premium to be in The Hermitage but now it will be just like every other estate," Ms Frost said.

"Sekisui House has made a lot of money from this development - they are just being greedy."

Many residents with similar views left comments when signing the petition.

Mark Anderson said: "Such beautiful, mature trees. These have become a landmark and are a delight at night as they are so beautifully lit. Surely we need to retain such natural beauty."

Tori Johnson wrote: "Save the beautiful trees, stop the concrete jungle and congestion. We need a community hall/ function hall."

James Costello added: "I'm over these greedy developers throwing up nasty concrete rubbish for a quick buck."

In a statement provided to the Advertiser, Sekisui House said it understood the proposed development was of concern to some residents.

It said the subject land had been zoned residential since the inception of the estate in 2007.

"In the interim period, and on a temporary basis, the land has been used to accommodate The Hermitage Sales and Information Centre, including some small children's play facilities," the statement said.

Sekisui House said it had provided expansive open space areas for residents including Gledswood Hill Reserve, South Creek, Fairbank Drive linear park and Buckingham Park.

It said several existing elements at the proposed development site would be retained, including the signature sandstone wall near Camden Valley Way and 3 of the 10 prominent trees.

The existing playground equipment will be relocated to another park area in the estate.

"The team at Sekisui House remain dedicated to upholding the unique aesthetic and character that has been established since the inception of The Hermitage masterplan," the statement said.

Read the complete version of the Sekisui House statement here.