Community groups upset that The Hills Shire Council propose to lower development heights around stations in the North West Rail Corridor have every right to protest, says the Urban Taskforce.
"It is rare that we see community groups angry that a council has reduced heights for new development in their area but this is what has been achieved by the Hills Shire Council," said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson.
"Days after the State Government has announced the Greater Sydney Commission to better co-ordinate planning across Sydney we see an individual council preparing their own plans, in an attempt to usurp the State Government plans that will shortly go on public exhibition.
"The North West Rail Corridor Plans developed by the Department of Planning and Environment are in direct response to the State Government's new railway line through the North West. Clearly robust development is needed around these stations to ensure taxpayers gain the most benefit from this piece of infrastructure and the Development's plans would achieve this. It seems bizarre to now have a competing plan produced by the local council on the basis that their plan reflects 'the values and lifestyle of local residents'. Certainly those residents who own land which is now worth considerably less due to reduced development potential will feel that their values have been reduced.
"The Council has increased uncertainty and confusion for both the local community and the development industry by exhibiting plans for these precincts when the Department of Planning and Environment has made it clear that they are developing detailed plans for these areas.
"The Hills Shire Council proposes an incentive system to ensure that 'The Hills Shire values' are achieved. This means extra floor space will be available if proposals for new apartments have Shore apartments sizes and mix.
"The Greater Sydney Commission will need to manage the local rules to reflect local values that could lead to multiple planning standards across Metropolitan Sydney.
"The Urban Taskforce is keen to work with local community groups that are battling their council's attempts to reduce development potential on their land."