Developing a town centre plan

Noel Oxley from the Trust (3rd from left) with Mayor Philip Ruddock, Cllr Emma Heyde and PHDCT member Normal Parris
Noel Oxley from the Trust (3rd from left) with Mayor Philip Ruddock, Cllr Emma Heyde and PHDCT member Normal Parris

Members of the Pennant Hills District Civic Trust recently met with the mayor of Hornsby Shire, Philip Ruddock, Councillor Emma Heyde and staff from the Planning Division.

The Trust had one agenda item only – the next steps in developing the Pennant Hills Town Centre Plan- although we were also there to listen to what Council had to say about its intentions regarding the future of the Pennant Hills town centre. The Trust’s ideas for this had already been flagged in our column published in this paper’s March issue. We also circulated the article to Hornsby Shire Councillors as well as to our members and supporters via Gmail Facebook and our web page.

The Trust was told that the town plan would not progress. The main reason we were given was lack of money available for the project. Other reasons included that there would be no new housing targets until mid-2019, and a lack of take-up of units already completed and available in Epping and Beecroft. We were also told that the current plan is for further residential building to be near Hornsby station.

Other discussion at the meeting included:

  • The council is working with the State Government to address the negative financial impact on Hornsby Shire Council arising from the transfer of the Epping precinct to Parramatta the council amalgamations of 2017. The aim is to make Hornsby a financially viable council again.
  • The desire for more trees to be planted in the streets.
  • How to manage increased traffic from commuters, the Fisher Road development, and parking for shoppers in Pennant Hills.
  • Buildings and shops should be painted in concert with other buildings in the area.
  • The Council is open to redevelopment of the Pennant Hills Market Place, especially if this will improve pedestrian flow and shopper parking.

The reason the Trust wants a documented plan in place for Pennant Hills is to ensure our suburb is not subject to the whims of future State Governments and Councils, and pressure from developers. This plan would set out what Pennant Hills will look like in the future. Development of a plan was a promise by our elected councillors before the council elections.

While there may be no Council need, or developer pressures, for more residential development in the life of the current council, this is not a reason for not creating a town plan. In fact, this is the right time to draw up a proper plan – not when there is pressure for more housing.

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