A RIDING school, gallery, history centre and model farm are just some of the possible future uses of Bella Vista Farm.
Whether these ideas bear fruit is dependent on the Department of Planning and Recreation approving a Hills Council proposal to rezone the site from public recreation to business centre.
"It's certainly a precious site in this area and, when I say precious, it's cost us a bomb," Councillor Mike Thomas said at last week's council meeting, where councillors unanimously agreed to support the proposal.
According to a draft Conservation Management Plan prepared by Worley Parsons, rezoning is necessary in order for the property to become "financially independent" from its owner, The Hills Council.
The consultants noted that if the heritage buildings on the 18.5 hectare site are to survive, they need to be given a "viable use" which would, in turn, create an income stream for future preservation and maintenance of the site.
Councillor Tony Hay said: "It's not uncommon for heritage sites to be protected in this way".
Councillor Yvonne Keane declared a non-significant non-pecuniary interest because her charity Reach for the Rainbow is holding a free New Year's event at the farm.
Bella Vista Farm is on the NSW State Heritage Register and includes a two-storey homestead, originally circa 1840’s, and a Bunya Pine-lined drive planted in circa 1890’s.
The Conservation Management Plan suggests several possible uses for the farm, including:
■ Art/craft outlet
■ Community gardens
■ Demonstration farm
■ Function/meeting rooms
■ Open days
■ Riding school
■ Trades training
~ What would you like to see the farm used for?