AFTER multiple community consultations, protests and iterations, NSW government plans to bring an extra 980 new homes, with an expected population growth of 3000 people, have been shelved.
The Ingleside Place Strategy had ignited debate in the community, with many residents concerned about extra traffic, over development, impacts on the environment and the ditching of a planned school in the area, which is south of Mona Vale Road and north of Powderworks Road.
As well as the almost 1000 new homes, requiring some rezoning of semi-rural land, there was a proposed shopping centre, community centre, parks, sporting fields and places for biodiversity conservation and water cycle management.
But, after further investigation and feedback from Council, Fire, Police and the community, Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said the NSW government will no longer pursue the development of Ingleside as a growth area, with Northern Beaches Council instead handed planning control of the land.
How the Northern Beaches Review has covered the Ingleside story:
Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan welcomed the announcement and thanked the government for listening to Council and the community.
"This news will be very welcome by many in our community and it's great to have more certainty now for the future of this area," he said. "We'll consider it as part of the development of our new Local Environmental Plan which we are working towards for the whole Northern Beaches area."
But he said they would not be planning any new housing developments of the scale of the previous NSW government plans. "We now have all the studies to demonstrate the significant bushfire risk, the environmental and Aboriginal heritage impacts and the need for costly infrastructure in order to make such a development feasible," he said.
The initial Land Use and Infrastructure Implementation Plan for Ingleside was released six years ago. The 2016 plan featured a primary school and more than triple the number of homes (3400, servicing an expected population growth of 9000 people) but was downgraded due to concerns raised about: traffic, public transport, bushfire safety, density controls and acquisition of land for environmental conservation purposes.
A bushfire risk study commissioned in 2018 showed the potential of the Ingleside Precinct to be exposed to extreme to catastrophic bushfire risk, as well as concerns about the ability to evacuate the precinct safely in a bushfire event
The latest iteration of the Ingleside Place Strategy was released in May last year. Two months later, the council voted to send a submission to the Planning Department calling on it to scrap it. They again raised concerns about bushfire risk, as well as lack of traffic and transport planning, the significant cost to ratepayers for infrastructure, significant impacts on biodiversity and the ability to deliver any affordable housing in line with Council's adopted policy.
Mayor Regan said Council would continue to advocate for the NSW Government to transfer into Council ownership, at no cost, the NSW Government land on which planning infrastructure is sited and ask the government to transfer surplus NSW government land for other public purposes such as sports fields, passive recreational spaces and biodiversity offsets.
"We now have an opportunity to repurpose some of this less environmentally sensitive land for broad community use," he said.
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