Airds may be in the midst of a major redevelopment, but one vital area has been forgotten.
Pat O’Brien has lived in the suburb for 41 years and has witnessed the evolution of Airds.
She and other long-term residents hoped the redevelopment of the suburb would mean the shopping centre on Riverside Drive would also receive a makeover.
While the Newbrook estate in the northern part of the suburb has seen an influx of new homes and residents, the shopping centre has remained as is – much to the dismay of Mrs O’Brien.
“It’s absolutely disgusting. It’s filthy and there are only about three shops,” she said.
“I only go there for the newspaper.
“It’s very dark and dreary and you wouldn’t go there at night.
“We expected a whole new shopping centre (with the redevelopment).
Mrs O’Brien said the state of the centre had become increasingly worse over the last decade and she believed a “spruce up” – like those that occurred in Minto and Ingleburn – was long overdue.
“They (Minto and Ingleburn) are nice shopping centres for local people but we don’t have that,” she said.
“It’s like we’ve been abandoned … we expected more.
“People that move here will have nothing and they’ll have to go to Campbelltown of Macarthur Square (to shop).
“The centre just needs a good spruce up.”
Like Claymore, the redevelopment of Airds is being overseen by Landcom – the state government-owned developer.
A Landcom spokeswoman said as the shops were privately owned, so the developers hands were effectively tied.
“The existing shopping centre is privately owned and operated. Consequently both Landcom and Land and Housing Corporation have no authority over this shopping centre,” she said.
“Landcom and Land and Housing Corporation and the existing shopping centre owner are looking to work together to prepare a detailed planning proposal over the Airds town centre to include shops, new community facilities and new housing opportunities.
“An urban design consultant has recently been appointed to start this work.
“Landcom and Land and Housing Corporation will continue to consult all surrounding landowners and the local community via the Airds/Bradbury Community Reference Group to help inform the planning proposal.
“Consultation is anticipated to start later this year.”