Hills to Hawkesbury Community News

Mosque Approved for Glenhaven

- BY BEV JORDAN

A decision to allow a 250-person place of worship proposed by the The Hills District Muslim Society (‘Hills AWQAF Pty Ltd’) at Glenhaven has sent shockwaves through the community after it was announced last week following a four year campaign by residents against it.

The plans for the Masjid (Mosque) on a 2.5 ha site at 1 Larapinta Place, Glenhaven were first submitted to Hills Shire Council in April 2018 and were rejected on several grounds.

The proposed $7.5million project included a 2-storey building including a main Prayer hall to accommodat­e 250 people, a sister prayer hall, four classrooms and basement parking for 116 cars.

The Sydney Central Planning Panel rejected the plans on 28th August 2019 following a public meeting attended by about 500 people.

The proposal was then taken to the Land and Environmen­t Court in September 2021 on appeal. Court Commission­er Joanne Gray handed down her decision last week (March 28th) upholding the appeal by The Hills District Muslim Society after minor changes were made to the carparking arrangemen­ts and noise controls.

She said the developmen­t was deemed “acceptable having regard to the absences of adverse impacts, the objectives of the zone and the character of the area.”

Hills Shire Mayor Dr Peter Gangemi described the decision as “incredibly disappoint­ing”. He said Council was not against places of public worship, but it was the wrong location in this applicatio­n.

“Given the intensity and scale, Council wanted to see this type of developmen­t located in our urbanised areas – where there is adequate pedestrian access, public transport, roads and a sewer network.

"We have attempted to meet with the applicant on a number of occasions to discuss alternativ­e sites, however, they've remained unchanged in their decision and adamant on this site," he said.

He also hit out at the process. “The State Government talks about putting locals first and including them in the decision making process, but this outcome just proves how out of touch they are with local community issues.

“This proposal fails to adequately deal with the RU6 Transition Zone objectives, as well as the noise, traffic and parking this type of developmen­t will generate. It also has little regard to the rural landscape and will unacceptab­ly impact on the natural environmen­t, as well as the neighbouri­ng properties located within the quiet cul-de-sac.

“It’s unsatisfac­tory that our rural land is being exploited in this way because it’s a cheaper alternativ­e to building on urban zoned land - the more appropriat­e location for a developmen­t of this size. "

Hills Shire Councillor Mitchell Blue, former Chair of Friends of Glenhaven, said residents were opposed to the proposal because the

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