Call to upgrade Showground Road

Artist's impression of the future Castle Towers development, near which Showground Road runs. If given the green light by the Regional Planning Panel, it will be the third-largest shopping centre in Australia.

Artist's impression of the future Castle Towers development, near which Showground Road runs. If given the green light by the Regional Planning Panel, it will be the third-largest shopping centre in Australia.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Roads Ray Williams wants Showground Road upgraded as soon as possible.

He said for too long the community had put up with ‘‘a single-lane goat track’’ on Showground Road, which has impacted on our quality of life through traffic congestion and by restricting business growth.

He requested an urgent meeting with the owners of Castle Towers — Queensland Investment Corporation — and The Hills Council on June 23, to discuss the hold-up.

‘‘Showground Road is the gateway to one of the most important shopping and employment precincts in NSW and currently over 40,000 cars each day are forced to use what is an unacceptable road in order to access this area,’’ Mr Williams said.

QIC’s $164 million application for Stage 1 alterations and additions at Castle Towers has development application approval from the council but awaits determination by the Joint Regional Planning Panel.

‘‘As a long-term investor in the region, QIC Global Real Estate is pleased to contribute to the planned Showground Road upgrade as part of its proposed Castle Towers development,’’ a spokesman said.

‘‘These discussions are commercial-in-confidence and we are unable to provide any specific detail.’’

QIC Global Real Estate managing director Steven Leigh said the proposed Castle Towers development would increase the size of the centre by up to 60,000 square metres and include a number of new majors, mini-majors and specialty retail.

‘‘It is also proposed to deliver new dining and food courts and significant improvements to the cinema, entertainment and leisure precinct, he said.

“While it is still too early to determine the specific retail mix, the proposed development will feature an extensive range of new specialty retailers, dining options and an integrated mix of entertainment, which will complement the centre’s already dynamic offer.”

He said the  development responds to the region’s consistent strong growth in both population and housing, which is driving the need for increased services and infrastructure in the area.

“It will further contribute to the socio-economic growth of the region by creating a number of employment opportunities throughout the development and, on completion, approximately 2500 new retail, hospitality and services jobs, he said.

QIC is currently undertaking more detailed planning and design, and there are many stages before the full scope, cost, timing and retail mix can be confirmed.

Castle Towers’ works include:

■ demolition and construction works to rearrange retail, mall and car parking areas;

■ improved servicing arrangements;

■ rearrangement of parking areas and links between them, with a loss of 146 car spaces;

■ facade replacement and upgrading;

■ new 800-seat food court; and

■ increased 8000 square metres of gross leasable floor space.

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