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Deadline looming for Appin draft proposal

The NSW government has taken control of all planning decisions in Appin – and the local council and residents are angry about being locked out of discussions and are bracing for more development, years of construction and lack of infrastructure.

Residents want more consultation and an extension to the December 19 submission deadline for the Appin draft proposal by the Walker Corporation.

Some locals have pointed the finger at the state government’s department of planning citing lack of “integrity and oversight” when it comes to development and transparency when it comes to development in Appin.

Wollondilly councillor Judith Hannan, who recently announced she will be contesting the 2023 State Election as an independent, said the government doesn’t care about Appin, since it is now in the safe Labor seat of Campbelltown.

“They can do whatever they want to Appin and it will have no consequences for them. They can look after their developer friends. Why would they care; they are about being re-elected.”

Cr Hannan has an issue with the state taking control of major developments in Appin and Wilton, in a bid to unlock more housing in NSW.

She said it’s already taken control of development applications and now it has taken strategic planning.

She said councillors are the first point of contact about these issues.

Residents said the four weeks that people have to submit a written response is not enough time to look at the copious amounts and documents and respond.

“It’s extremely unfair all the land owners and the council have been locked out of the decision making,” one long-time resident, who doesn’t want to be named said.

“The only people who have been privy to the information is the big developers and the government. It’s going to affect every Appin resident.”

In the last Census there were 1040 residences in Appin with 3230 people.

“Just the initial rezoning for 3500 houses could add 11,000 plus people…”

Adding to the development pressures is the Outer Sydney Orbital 2 (OSO2) which also was released before Christmas a few years ago. Residents successfully secured an extension and even had fought to have two better options short listed, one was the favoured blue line above the ill-conceived yellow line option which would have impacted homes and properties.

Residents recently found out through their own research, other options are now being considered without public consultation.

“This was updated ( November 21, 2022) without any apparent…notification to previous submitters,” Jo O’Brien from the Outer Sydney Orbital Macarthur Action Group said.

“There is an entirely different option presented that was never subject to public consultation. The OSO now takes a looping turn to run south through west Appin, and it terminates at the edge of the development/growth area. From here it will apparently link to Picton Road, possibly via or near Douglas Park Drive and MacArthur Drive. There is no indication of an exact route, or proposed consultation or notification of anyone on this path.

“It is hard to believe the government went through the whole prior consultation process (2020-2021) for the OSO2 without being aware of these issues and constraints and the need to eventually connect to Picton Road. That consultation has been rendered effectively pointless.

“The prior “yellow” path is now the transit road for the new [Appin] development.

“Private landholders who thought they had been successful in saving their properties are now back in the path of a major road, but has been renamed as the East-West Connection road.”

Michelle Mouron from Help Save Appin, said that from all reports infrastructure will only be delivered after achieving “a specific number of residential lots in most cases”.

Ms Mouron said when Appin Vale – now North Appin along with Brooks Point Road development, 11 years ago – the cost of the combined infrastructure was $379 million. Locals are still waiting for that infrastructure to be delivered.

“These issues need to be addressed before this is even considered or fast tracked…not after [the] 14,000th lot has been sold; by then the damage will be done and [is] undoable.”

A Department of Planning and Environment spokesperson said all submissions will be considered to determine if the land should be rezoned. 

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