When it comes to developing the Scenic Hills, it’s complicated

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As far as the Scenic Hills are concerned, any attempt to develop them in any way, shape or form will always be an emotional issue.

The other thing we have learned from recent history is that a lot of local residents take an interest in whatever happens in the Scenic Hills.

Our stories this week on the planning proposal for some acreage lots at Macarthur Grange golf course have caused a huge stir in Campbelltown and indeed the entire Macarthur region.

After sitting through the council meeting which made a decision to progress the developer’s proposal, I can vouch for one thing: when it comes to the Scenic Hills it’s complicated.

And certainly I did not envy the councillors who had a duty to vote one way or the other.

When that old Scenic Hills campaigner Meg Oates had her say it was hard to disagree with much of what she said in opposition to the developer.

But then Warren Morrison, the deputy mayor, also mounted a very persuasive case that this was almost an offer too good to refuse.

The “offer’’ was turning 150 acres of the site into community land, complete with lookout parks, and to be maintained at the expense of the proponent.

Locals and visitors being able to walk up to the top of the ridge line and have a nice Sunday picnic while enjoying views to die for was much better than just looking at the Scenic Hills was more or less the argument from Cr Morrison.

Cr Oates maintained that allowing housing on the Scenic Hills would be the thin edge of the wedge, a view that was challenged by the mayor, George Greiss, who said that as a matter of legal necessity every development application before council must be decided on its merits.

In other words, there is no such thing as a precedent when it comes to development applications.

From where I was sitting in the media table, I could see what Meg Oates was saying, but also saw a lot of merit in Cr Morrison’s analysis of the conundrum before the council.

The community land offer from the developer is no doubt a sweetener, because without that it would have been thrown out in my opinion.

Remember that 10 years ago the then owners applied to have more than 500 homes built on the site – and there was no sweetener anywhere in that chapter of the Macarthur Grange golf course saga.

The original owners of the golf course wanted to add a cemetery and crematorium, but that was blocked by the fierce resistance of Kearns resident on the other side of the hill.

It’s worth remembering that this is only the first of several hoops the latest proposal has to pass through.

It has been passed on to the planning department of the state government, and if it gets the green light it will then have to be put on public exhibition for 28 days.

This will also mean the public will have their say, one way or another.

It will be interesting to see how the whole thing rolls from here.

3 thoughts on “When it comes to developing the Scenic Hills, it’s complicated”

  1. Once you allow this development, it will set a precedent and open the flood gates for other developments in the Scenic Hills until they are no more. The current owners of the Grange golf course knew the restrictions when they bought the place. I think the Scenic Hills should be preserved the way they are. It is part of the beauty of Campbelltown and Macarthur as a whole.

  2. Thank you for keeping us updated on this development proposal, I have been a member of the Macarthur Grange golf course for many years and like my fellow members love the hilly walk the friendship and scenery. I will continue enjoying this place whilst the gates stay open and the serenity remains……maybe theres a protected frog or brown snake that will keep the bulldozers silent.😀😀

  3. Also a member of this unique golf course, it would be a shame to lose a golf course and it’s members to a recreational park. Not sure why Macarthur needs another recreational park when you have Mount Annan Botanical Gardens a stone’s throw away.
    The golf courses in the Macarthur area are already at a premium with difficulty getting a game on a Saturday.
    There is plenty of room for bike and walking tracks on the golf course without going near the actual fairways of the golf course.
    If serious about having access to a viewing area there are a couple of options without impacting the golf course.
    Actually played golf there with Warren Morrison and it is disappointing that he is pushing for its closure.


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