Protesters crash The Hills Council party

A COMMUNITY lobby group hijacked The Hills Council's Christmas party at Bella Vista Farm Park to object to a proposal to rezone the 18.5-hectare heritage precinct.

Roxanne Leopardi of Macarthur Ridge Community Association — a 14-property residential consortium with homes backing on to the park — said about 40 people showed up with flyers and a petition opposing a council proposal to rezone the park off Norwest Boulevarde from RE1 public recreation zone to B7 business park zone.

"I think we really got the word out there," Ms Leopardi said.

Submissions close on December 20. Click here for the proposal.

Macarthur Ridge Community Association has started Save Bella Vista Farm Facebook page and a petition with 400 signatures.

They will meet with council officers today to say why they believe rezoning is not necessary to achieve the uses council has outlined in its draft Conservation Management Plan.

Click here to read the Conservation Management Plan prepared by Worley Parsons for The Hills Council in May 2012.

Bella Vista Farm is on the NSW State Heritage Register and includes a two-storey homestead, originally circa 1840s.

The association worries rezoning may open the way for the park to become an extension of Norwest Business Park, as does Norwest Association Ltd — the body corporate established under the Norwest Master Scheme to maintain development standards within Norwest Business Park.

Its chairman Alan Zammit said the council should consider adopting a schedule of permitted uses and designate areas for possible development in a plan of management which also covers floor space controls and height limits.

Deputy mayor Andrew Jefferies said rezoning was recommended by Worley Parsons, the Conservation Management Plan's author, as necessary for the property to become "financially independent" from its owner, The Hills Council.

Mr Zammit said: "We support, indeed welcome, council's endeavours to raise an income stream for the maintenance of Bella Vista Farm Park . . . but we do object to the adoption of a blanket B7 Business Park zone across the whole of the farm park and over adjoining public reserves."

Friends of Bella Vista Farm president Keith Bensley said: "They [council] do say the Heritage Council will protect it [from over-development] but that's only as good as the government of the day."

Cr Jefferies said: "There are heritage restrictions in perpetuity".

Click here for our previous coverage.

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