A community forum hosted by LiverpoolCouncil on Monday erupted as residents expressed their anger over confusing reports about the development proposal for Middleton Grange Town Centre.
The council’s chief executive Kiersten Fishburn was delighted so many came.
“The council organised the forum so residents could learn more about the town-centre proposal, give feedback and raise concerns,” she said.
“Initial responses indicate the community is worried about the scale of development. Council officers will prepare a report on all responses, including from state agencies, which will be considered at a full council meeting early next year. The final decision rests with the Planning Minister.”
Private developer MantaGroup submitted a proposal for a town centre which would comprise retail space, commercial space and residential space on 20 acres at 60-80 Southern Cross Avenue and 45-65 Hall Circuit at Middleton Grange.
Initial zoning reports suggested the site was capable of a minimum 176 apartments and 5000 square metres of retail space.
Manta Group proposed 912 apartments and 20,000 square metres of retail space with 2500 square metres of commercial space.
At the forum, it seemed most residents pushed for a town centre but feared over-development.
ParkbridgeEstate group spokesperson SelwynWilliams explained the situation.
“The committee don’t have anything against a shopping centre. The issue is the escalation and size to what the place was originally zoned for. There’s no traffic-impact study, no environmental-impact study and only two ways to get in and out of Middleton Grange.”
A petition by the Parkbridge Estate residents group was promoted at the event and got over 500 signatures.
Before the forum, Manta Group chief executive ReneLicata told us there were rumours which added to residents’ concerns.
“We never submitted a proposal for 176 apartments – those were the numbers by the council from a 2004 masterplan which is now obsolete,” he said.
Mr Licata blamed the council for infrastructure failure.
“There is lack of infrastructure. But they [residents] don’t understand we won’t be able achieve this design if we don’t take care of the infrastructure requirements.
“What we’ve done is have the traffic and intersections improved, build extra roads and improve gateway areas where residents can disperse easily. It’s not our fault the council is waiting for this to be approved to work on infrastructure.”
At the forum he also said he was not liable for conflicting reports.
“Not everyone was unhappy about the proposal. The facts from the council were not provided properly and caused confusion.”
Comments from the community
- Resident Nicole Williams: It’s the conflicting information about the apartments that’s concerning. We don’t have the details at the moment. Also, there are too many buses that come through here. Our streets are too narrow and they’re causing problems because peoples cars are getting crashed. They can’t widen the roads, they’re already built so more apartments and people aren’t going to help. The meeting tonight was an eye opener but it didn’t seem very truthful. We’ve been here for five years and we’ve always known there was going to be more development and houses but 900 apartments is too much.
- Resident Silvanna Pecora: I think the retail is fantastic. The more people who complain, the more delays. We’ve waited long enough!
- Resident Carmelo Elices: I think it’s good for the economy. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. People don’t want to take risk but it might work out better for home value. I also think it’s good to have apartments that are more affordable for younger generations.
- Liverpool councillor Nathan Hagarty: The community are still waiting for a town centre, at the moment they don’t even havea corner shop. I think the original zoning for 176 apartments was more appropriate but now the developer is asking for upwards of 900 which is a big increase. Traffic is already at a standstill and if you introduce more than 900 apartments, it’s only going to make it worse. I think the developer has to address the concerns of the residents and I think we need additional access in and out of Middleton Grange. Residents also want a fair share of infrastructure.
- Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong: Middleton Grange is not in my electorate. However, the impact of over-development can be felt across south west Sydney and in other parts of Sydney. A lack of commuter car parking, overcrowded schools, inadequate transport, disappearing green spaces and worsening congestion are all diminishing people’s quality of life. Growth must be matched by our fair share of resources to meet our current and future needs, and this requires funded commitments by the State and Federal Liberal Governments to improve vital infrastructure and community services. The State and Federal Liberal Government’s record in south west Sydney has been abysmal.
- Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies: Every person I spoke to is wholeheartedly opposed to this 12-storey development which will see 900 apartments built in this small community. Middleton Grange was never designed for a development of this size, it is completely inappropriate.