Deputy mayor eager to reel in overdevelopment
New term brings fresh resolve to ensure suitable infrastructure
PENRITH Deputy Mayor Tricia Hitchen has overdevelopment in Oxley Park on her radar as the new Penrith Council starts scrutinising and acting on issues in the area.
Cr Hitchen believes development in the suburb has spun out of the council’s control and something needs to be done to pull it back in.
The East Ward councillor said easing suffering of residents — due to lack of parking and wider amenity issues — was top of her priorities list for this term.
“As much as development is required, it’s happening so fast, and council, I don’t think, is getting ahead of it in regards to infrastructure,” Cr Hitchen said.
“By the time they are finished (in Oxley Park) there will be 5000 houses.
“There are 5000 houses in Ropes Crossing. If you look at the difference in the size of the area, the amenity, parks, shops … there’s no comparison.”
CoreLogic RP Data figures show 14 sales in Oxley Park in two months.
Cr Hitchen said that despite the State Government’s overruling of residential to medium-density zoning and the need to “infill older suburbs”, Penrith Council needed to consider development applications with a fine-tooth comb prior to giving the “rubberstamp approval”.
Garbage and parking regulations for townhouse builds could be altered, she said, to free up traffic and parking along streets.
Kay Hearne has watched the streetscape change “dramatically” since she moved to Oxley Park in 1988.
Mrs Hearne said her family felt forced to remove their backyard pool two months ago for privacy, as townhouses sprouted along her fence line.
The resident, who has approached Penrith Council to explain why the suburb is overrun, said property developers regularly knocked at her door, urging her to sell.
“We wanted to stay here until we were in retirement age … I think we should wait until we want to move, not have to move,” she said.
Cr Hitchen said of the area’s oldest residents: “They don’t feel welcome in their own streets anymore.”
Cr Hitchen said she expected her council colleagues to back her plans, which include using Section 94 funds to renew the Brisbane St park.
“I want it covered, I want barbecue areas, more play areas for all ages, maybe some sort of bike track around the outside so kids can ride their bike there instead of on the road,” she said. “The upgrade would cost about $70,000 or $80,000 with coverings.”
She said the need to tidy up the Sydney St shops was another urgent matter.
Kay Hearne has lost her backyard privacy and ( right) Mrs Hearne with Cr Tricia ia Hitchen in Oxley Park. k. Pictures: David Swift