Cherrybrook future in question

Cllr Vince del Gallego surveys building work on Cherrybrook's new station complex
Cllr Vince del Gallego surveys building work on Cherrybrook's new station complex

The future of Cherrybrook as a leafy garden suburb is in serious doubt if the state government has its way.

That’s the verdict of Hornsby Deputy Mayor Vince del Gallego, a Cherrybrook resident of 35 years and ward councillor.

In 2017 the state government declared a Priority Precinct a well-established portion of the suburb bordered by County Drive, John Road, Neal Avenue, Edward Bennet Drive, Highs Road and Coonara Avenue.

The Deputy Mayor’s fears are that if the Priority Precinct remains, mass rezoning will pave the way for the garden suburb to be dominated by medium and high density dwellings, including high rise apartment blocks on open parcels of land and squeezed between houses.

At a Hornsby council meeting in August he put forward a motion to get council to lobby the government to reduce this footprint of 187 hectares to just the 3.5 hectare parcel of governmentowned developable land wrapping around Cherrybrook overground station, currently under construction.

“It’s a mistake by the government to make it a Priority Precinct as it lays the suburb open to overdevelopment to recover costs associated with amalgamation of fragmented land ownership, widening the road network and placing required infrastructure to maintain residents’ quality of life,” said Councillor del Gallego.

“The higher the costs, the higher the density. It’s not rocket science!” he added.

Significant also is the proposed amendment to the State Environment Planning Policy 2011 which “appears to provide a way for the government to progress future development on governmentowned land in isolation to the overall precinct,” he said.

“Whilst we still don’t know exactly what their plan is, I think the state government is going to focus on the government-owned land now and then possibly later the larger area.

“Cherrybrook is an established, beautiful, low density suburb, situated in a leafy environment. Any proposed medium to high density residential development Cllr Vince del Gallego surveys building work on Cherrybrook’s new station complex is absolutely inappropriate and out of character for the area and must be rejected.”

Council voted to get the full infrastructure and planning blueprint for the area on the table before they decide what to do about the issue.

Philip Ruddock told Planning Minister Anthony Roberts in a letter in August that the Council was concerned about plans to ‘proceed with the planning for Governmentowned land under a separate process to the agreed ‘whole of Precinct’ approach. The ‘whole of Precinct’ approach is critical in delivering an integrated land use and transport strategy that addresses the regional infrastructure issues currently facing Cherrybrook and the wider community.’

The Mayor wants an urgent update from the Planning Minister Anthony Roberts on the technical studies to inform planning for the Cherrybrook Station Precinct, including transport and land use plans.

Cherrybrook Residents’ Association spoksperson Charles Adderley said: “Feedback from the local community indicates that a significant majority of residents want the land outside the Government-owned land immediately adjacent to the station to be retained for low residential housing.

“Even within the Government-owned land their wish is for any development to be no higher than three storeys, which does not undermine the leafy character of the area.”

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