Wollondilly Council has baulked at a plan to build more than 5000 houses in Menangle, a rural hamlet widely regarded as the birthplace of agriculture in Australia.
The Department of Planning and Environment wants to include additional Menangle land for residential homes in the proposed Greater Macarthur Priority Growth Area.
The council was asked to make submission on a Mirvac proposal, which seeks to build 350 residential lots in stage one and a further 5000 houses in stages two and three.
The total proposal is for a 557 hectare site which would see approximately 15 dwellings per hectare. The stage one development in Station Street, Menangle is before the Sydney South West Planning Panel.
All councillors strongly objected to the proposal at Monday night’s council meeting.
Councillor Noel Lowry vehemently opposed the plan because he does not want to see the rich agricultural land and history at Menangle lost.
“We can not find any better agricultural land and I can not watch this piece of history evaporate,” he said.
“How can the [state] government suggest this area is the right place for development?”
Cr Banasik said this development opposed the shire’s ethos of rural living.
“The heritage of the area is amazing – there is Camden Park, Gilbulla, Menangle Store and the rotolactor site,” he said.
“This development just ain’t rural living.”
Cr Gould labelled the proposal as “blatantly ridiculous” and said the council had to defend the pristine land.
“This land in Menangle is some of the best agricultural land in Australia,” he said.
“We don’t need this development to meet our housing target and it is inconsistent with everything this council is working [towards].”
Cr Banasik was also concerned about the lack of infrastructure in the area as the current roads could not accommodate the level of growth.
The council has several concerns about the development outlined in a report.
It is worried about losing the scenic views of Menangle, the impact the development would have on agricultural land and on the Appin poultry cluster.
Council raised concerns about insufficient infrastructure in Menangle, that residents of the new development would be car dependent and the historic Menangle Railway Station would need to be upgraded.
The report said the proposal was inconsistent with the shire’s vision for the future, there were concerns that no master plan had been developed and the council wanted to focus on delivering Wilton New Town.
The council also said it did not need more houses because it was on target to achieve its housing goal.
Cr Lowry ended by saying Sydney should be filled internally not through urban sprawl.
“If we can’t defend from urban sprawl at our boundaries than what can we defend?”