Independent councillor Shae Foenander is “so angry” about proposed development plans for up to five storey high buildings in the heart of Springwood’s town centre.
Cr Foenander said she did not want Springwood to become a “mini Penrith” and refused to support the latest version of the Springwood masterplan, even when the other 11 councillors voted to defer the matter to next February or March.
The 20 year masterplan could see Macquarie Road with “shop top” housing in buildings up to nine metres high (or two to three storeys -the same size as the Hub), four storeys behind the main street (in Springwood Avenue) and four to five storeys at the furthest retail end of Springwood Avenue (just past the Gazette building at 276) and at the corner of Raymond Road (behind the Oriental Hotel). Five storeys could be accommodated because of the slope of the land, the masterplan said.
“The plan presented to council would, if implemented, destroy Springwood,” she told the Gazette.
"Deferring the matter does not stop this proposal. I am disappointed other councillors voted to keep this higher density proposal still on the table.”
The Ward 3 councillor said one of the reasons she moved to the Mountains was because of the history and main street feel.
“I am declaring war on overdevelopment in Ward 3, and Springwood in particular. It seems every few years this comes up and the community has to confront it. This plan looked like a miniature version of the North Penrith Army Land development, which you see from the train as you head towards the city. The northern side of Penrith has been completely destroyed by ugly, higher level and denser development. We don’t need anything like that in Springwood … the community would never accept it and nor will I.”
Cr Foenander said the argument it was for aged housing was “a furphy”.
“Council’s LEP [Local Environment Plan] makes a large amount of land throughout the city available for that purpose and it’s not being taken up. There is just not the market demand”.
She asked councillors at the meeting on October 17 to “give Springwood a Christmas present” and throw the matter out, but this was knocked back and the matter deferred until early next year when the council’s draft housing strategy will be ready.
Fellow ward 3 councillor Mick Fell told the Gazette he “wouldn’t want to see a wall of flats … four or five storeys on Springwood Avenue” adding “a postponement would give us more time to develop more appropriate measures”.
“I see it as a need to go back to the drawing board. I’m very confident we can come up with a range of options that will enable a more suitable direction,” Cr Fell said.
Cr Foenander said: “I am going to make it my mission to stop this in its tracks.”
Mayor Mark Greenhill said the Ward 3 councillors had sent “one clear message”.
"It was about their dedication to preserving the character of Springwood. However they expressed it, this was their message. The council has heard them and we will work together with our staff over the coming months before coming back to council."