Second battle under way to save Bradbury oasis

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Bradbury residents have already fought one battle to stop a stretch of land behind Woodland Road Primary School from being eaten up by medium density housing.

Back in 2015 and 2016 a massive campaign by residents forced Campbelltown Council to defer plans to rezone the green belt, which separates Bradbury and St Helens Park.

Eight year later, the fight is back on, and residents believe it could be a bigger battle than in 2016 because the state government, which owns the land, has declared a housing shortage crisis in the Sydney metropolitan area.

Residents fear that this time their backs will really be up again the wall to save this oasis in the middle of dense housing.

“It would devastate us – this open space makes us millionaires in lifestyle and amenity terms,’’ one resident tod the South West Voice last night on site.

“Campbelltown doesn’t have enough such open spaces and can’t afford to lose any,’’ said another.

“Everyone knows council is always looking for more rates which is what housing on this land would mean.’’

“If it came to it, I’d even get my husband to tie himself on one of those trees to stop housing,’’ said one female resident.

“We will fight it all the way,’’ said Alan Skeoch, the Bradbury resident co-ordinating the 2024 campaign to save this unique open space, which is a koala corridor despite having few trees.

The campaign includes a Facebook page, and a petition, which had been signed by 272 people so far.

An aerial map of the Bradbury “oasis” that could be lost to medium density housing, and, top, some of the residents involved in the battle to save it for posterity.

Mr Skeoch has written to Campbelltown Council asking it to rezone the land so it cannot be used for housing.

Mayor George Greiss replied saying he had asked a director to look into the request and contact Mr Skeoch “shortly’’.

Mr Skeoch has also contacted the state government, as the owners of the land, which was reserved for a new major Campbelltown north-south road called Georges River Parkway.

The Georges River Parkway never eventuated, but as housing grew and grew at Bradbury and St Helens Park, this corridor became the perfect open space for residents to walk their dogs and children to play sport such as cricket and footy.

The site runs from almost Appin Road to the west and to the Bradbury water tanks to the east.

The area adjoins a small reserve named Flynn Reserve located near Woodlands Primary.

Over time some people have called the entire stretch Flynn Reserve, reflecting its use by the residents for passive recreation over more than 40 years.

“What worries residents is that the plan to rezone for housing is still on the books at council,’’ says Mr Skeoch.

“We are seeking to raise awareness of the topic to ensure the best outcome for residents.

“What we want is for council to rezone the land as a reserve,’’ he said.

“Given the coming land audit by the state government, this makes timely discussion even more pertinent.’’

Mr Skeoch says rezoning to a reserve can be done with a new “housekeeping Campbelltown Local Environment Plan’’.

He says there are plenty of reasons why this can be supported, including the fact the green belt has been long utilised by residents for recreation.

Locals have known the area as a route for wildlife, including koalas, particularly during their springtime breeding and associated migration.

He says there is growing community interest in maintaining wildlife corridors, while green spaces are being constantly lost with urban growth.

Finally, argues Mr Skeoch, removal of this area, alongside urban growth, will push surrounding green recreation areas to their limit.

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