South Dural buildfest canned

South Dural rainforest
South Dural rainforest
Jenny Barlass

The death knell  of the controversial proposal to build 2,900 new homes in South Dural was finally sounded last week when Hornsby Councillors voted unanimously to ask the Greater Sydney Commission not to proceed with the plan.

The State Government won’t pay for roads associated with it. The announcement was swiftly followed by developer Lyon admitting  that “it’s commercially unfeasible for us to continue”.

The proposal sought to have rural land in Dural rezoned as residential. Following a peer review of the plans, technical gaps were identified. Further, Lyon’s Option Agreements on local land parcels had lapsed.

The housing scheme was from the start highly unpopular with locals, with angry packed public meetings and Council receiving over 5,000 letters of opposition last year alone.

Council engaged a team of town planners, traffic engineers, bushfire risk assessors and environmental and heritage experts to evaluate the proposal and review the issues, funded by the Proponent Lyon. This report went before Council last month, with Councillors voting unanimously against the rezoning.

Lack of provision for schools, aged care, recreational activities and affordable housing, plus a local road infrastructure that neither copes now nor when promised upgrades would have taken place, and development encroachment into vital wildlife corridors and endangered forest were all high on the list of concerns of the perceived inadequacies of the intensive housing plan.

The main sticking point for the State Government was who would pay for the roads needed to be built around the development. Lyon offered to pay for part of the road building, wanting Government to pay the lion’s share.

But the Department of Planning and Environment (DOPE) wrote to Hornsby Council recently saying it was not prepared to pay for the building of new roads associated with the development.

A Hornsby Council spokesman says it has never openly supported the proposal, but had indicated it would consider supporting it as long as appropriate infrastructure – particularly for roads and utilities – was part of the development.

“We’re not against development, as we‘re all too aware of the housing shortage that’s making the great Australian dream of home ownership a distant fantasy for too many people,” Hornsby Mayor Philip Ruddock said.

“I want to make it clear, though, that we’ll only support responsible development that’s accompanied by the appropriate infrastructure.”

After four years at Gateway determination stage, the developer has finally drawn a line under the Proposal.

Lyon spokesman Mike Milliken said that the developer received “unfair” treatment over state road infrastructure at the hands of DOPE, given developers building on land releases at Box Hill weren’t asked to make any road contributions for this infrastructure, and that much of the traffic congestion in and around South Dural today is the result of these land releases.

“Regardless of the release of residential land in South Dural, upgrades to New Line and Old Northern Road would still be required,” he said.

“We remain resolute that the Proposal was a unique opportunity for private enterprise to substantially finance critical upgrades to failing State-owned roads and infrastructure in and around South Dural, and to deliver new and diverse housing types, a range of densities around public open space and to preserve and celebrate the unique natural bushland.”

“Our land options have now expired, and it’s commercially unfeasible for us to continue.”

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