Pennant Hills Centre
Pennant Hills Centre
OUR CIVIC CENTRE NEEDS SERIOUS REJUVENATION
This is not a new proposition, in 2003 Council were considering the future of its Fisher Avenue Car Park and, in parallel, resolved to consider the Pennant Hills Masterplan requirement within its 2003/04 Strategic Planning Review.
The Trust took the opportunity to provide Council with the ‘community benefits’ considered essential to any masterplanning exercise:
improving the access to, egress from and movement within the Centre, both for vehicles and pedestrians
improving the car parking capacity and convenience for the Centre’s shopping and services patrons
improving the shopping experience by creating a central pedestrian area and meeting place, and
improving the overall appearance of and care for the Centre by introducing a significant residential component and thereby reclaiming the Centre from those that simply pass through it on their way to somewhere else.
The Trust believes that the above is even more valid today, but Council has continuously postponed any action over 13 years and its current Strategic Planning Program shows this Masterplanning requirement as commencing in January 2016. The above ‘residential component’, with its controversial shop-top and high-rise connotation, was one reason the Trust pressed hard in 2003, but it is fair to say that this inevitability increases with the Council’s continued inaction.
Council’s approval of the 4 x five storey flat buildings and 110 units development of the central Fisher Avenue / Trebor Road site (see details below) in December 2013 is a disturbing pointer to a future with no mastre plan in place. future.
This issue is a major priority for the Trust and we will be pressing for the fullest and earliest possible community consultation when Council start this critical strategic planning activity.
The Pennant Hills centre that we know today started with opening of the train station in 1880’s, The first shop at the corner of Yarrara Road and Pennant Hills Road was opened in 1886. The village centre grew on both sides of Pennant Hills Road and along Yarrara Road. The local roads spreading out from the centre were laid out in the 1910s and 1920’s when the rural land holdings were subdivided into residential lots. These local roads have remained unchanged.
The same cannot be said for Pennant Hills Road. The ever growing significance of this major road transport corridor has driven the big changes in the area. In the 1980’s Pennant Hills Road was widened to three lanes each way, a number of local roads were blocked off, other roads have become peak period ‘rat runs’, business and services precincts have developed along the main road, and the shopping centre moved to the rear of the Yarrara Road shopping strip. The Pennant Hills Marketplace, the last major development within the shopping centre, was built in 1983.
It should be noted that in March 2009 Pennant Hills was excluded from Hornsby Council’s Housing Strategy because quote:
Pennant Hills requires a consolidated approach and detailed masterplanning for the entire centre…..known traffic problems, including limited access, narrow streets, extensive commuter parking, intersection and road levels of services, and accident rates are severe limitations or prohibitions to increased residential density for precincts within Pennant Hills.
Inexplicably in March 2010 the above decision was reversed with the approval of the developer nominated 7 lot Fisher Avenue / Trebor Road site and the spot rezoning – ‘to permit 5 storey residential flat buildings…..estimated that this density of development will result in 43 dwellings within the precinct’ – a decision that not only proved to be 159% out in terms of dwellings but was calculated to make the identified traffic problems even worse.