THERE are fears controversial development South Dural could still be on the cards.
At the March 8 council meeting, Hornsby councillors decided to include “supporting the strategic approach for urban development in the rural area, subject to the NSW Government assisting the development of a clear vision and infrastructure plan” in its submission regarding the Greater Sydney Commission’s draft North District Plan.
Being open to developing rural land could leave the door ajar for South Dural, a rural site, to proceed.
The decision comes just a month after Hornsby Council decided to stop evaluating the South Dural proposal, which is to build 2900 dwellings on the rural land between Hastings, New Line and Old Northern roads.
A council report on March 8 said the council wants “to develop a clear vision for the rural areas in the region” that could see rural land developed in the future.
“This work would include an infrastructure and funding plan to cater for existing and future development,” the council report stated.
“There is significant pressure to convert rural land to urban uses in the Dural locality as evidenced by the numerous planning proposals and gateway authorisations issued by the DP&E (Department of Planning and Environment).
“Council has written to the relevant NSW government ministers and The Hills Council seeking their support on this issue to avoid an ad-hoc planning outcomes resulting from site specific planning proposals and the proliferation of seniors housing developments.”
Hornsby Council received thousands of submissions against developing the South Dural site.
Residents argued it will have a negative effect on the local environment and cause more stress to local infrastructure, including roads.
Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Greens convener Emma Heyde, who has been campaigning with local resident groups against South Dural, described the council’s submission as a “slap in the face to the community”.
"It's an underhand way of providing council support for apartments in paddocks at South Dural,” Ms Heyde said.
"You really have to wonder whose interests these ten councillors are looking after if they are so determined to ignore what their constituents are saying on this issue. Why are they still pursuing a development that nobody else wants?
"The fact that nearly 6000 people made submissions on protecting South Dural was unprecedented in the history of Hornsby Council.
“The community is united in its desire to protect rural land. If council ignores this overwhelming opposition, then it can no longer be said to represent the interests of the people of this area.”
Galston Area Residents’ Association secretary John Inshaw said people believe the council has not stopped South Dural from proceeding.
“To just stop its evaluation is unfair to everyone concerned,” Mr Inshaw said.
“The community wants certainty regarding the future of our rural lands.”
The Greater Sydney Commission, the state government planning authority that will implement the North District Plan, believes rural land should be preserved.
“Urban development in the metropolitan rural area is not consistent with the protection of the area’s existing values,” the draft plan stated.
“Conversion of land to urban residential development is not necessary in the short to medium term given the supply of land for housing in other parts of greater Sydney, and conversion of rural land to suburban development does not form part of the housing targets that have been defined for the district or individual local government areas.
“In general, urban development in the Metropolitan Rural Area will not be supported unless the relevant planning authority has undertaken strategic planning in accordance with sustainability priorities nine and 10.”
Priorities nine and 10 are to consider environmental, social and economic values, and protecting the values of the rural area.