Proposals to build housing estates in Campbelltown's "protected" Scenic Hills

TWO controversial plans for development in Campbelltown's supposedly protected Scenic Hills have made it to round two of a fast-tracked application process.

A 164-hectare Mir Group development in the Blairmount area and a 125-ha Toscuz Investments development in the Macarthur Grange Precinct, near Kearns, could be hurried through as part of a state government list of land nominated by developers as suitable for housing.

But Camden MP Chris Patterson said there was nothing to worry about as detailed assessment of the sites hadn't started yet.

They haven't been removed so far "because they tick the boxes of over 100 hectares and are close to local infrastructure links," Mr Patterson told the Advertiser.

Jacqui Kirkby from the Scenic Hills Association said she was worried the process was based on making money rather than sound planning principles.

"This is an ad hoc process so we've no idea what it will take to stop this from happening — and whether the community will have a say, " she said.

Campbelltown mayor Anoulack Chanthivong said the proposals progressing to the next stage were a concern but reiterated his council's strong opposition to any development in the scenic protection zone.

Sam Mir from the Mir Group said it was unfair to label their proposed Blairmount development site as part of the Scenic Hills.

Mr Mir said it should be regarded as part of the urban local environment plan rather than the "sacrosanct" central hills.

"It's a bit tough for us when it all gets roped in as the same stuff and it isn't," Mr Mir said.

"I really understand where the council's coming from with the Scenic Hills and I agree that the central hills shouldn't be developed."

¦ The Mir Group's other controversial Kellerman Drive Estate proposal, at St Helens Park, has been knocked off the fast-tracked list and will now progress as a normal development application.

University of Western Sydney koala expert Robert Close said he was relieved that the Mir Group would not be able to sidestep the usual processes on a piece of land so important to local koala colonies.

"The more I learn about it, the more I'm convinced that it's an important piece of bushland," Dr Close said.

Cr Chanthivong said it was likely that due to the size of the St Helens Park development it would still be decided by a state government regional planning panel, on which the council has only two representatives.

Mr Mir said their St Helens Park proposal was overlooked because it was already zoned for housing.

"We're not giving up yet; we're not throwing it away," he said.

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