The release of the revised Ingleside Place Strategy has split the suburb in two and left some residents fuming.

A new master plan for Ingleside was released by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment today (Tuesday, 25 May). Previously slated for over 3,000 new homes, that number has been revised down to 980 new homes following a review of bushfire risk.

The plan carves the area to be rezoned into five ‘character areas’ and effectively splits Ingleside in two along Mona Vale Road. The area north of the road, referred to in the plan as ‘Area 5’ will no longer be included in plans for rezoning for new homes due to the assessed bushfire risks.

South of Mona Vale Road, Ingleside will be rezoned around four character areas:

  • Area 1: This area will be semi-suburban in character with mostly low-density residential homes. It will be focused on a local centre on Wattle Road.
  • Area 2: A corridor of mainly environmental conservation land, public and open space, including playing fields. Ingleside reservoir [image below] will be retained near the centre of the area. Other land will be zoned for low-density residential development. Sites east of Ingleside Road next to Ingleside Chase Reserve will continue to be used for rural uses.
  • Area 3: The area south of Powderworks Road fronts the Elanora Country Club golf course. Flatter topography and lower bushfire risk with access to Powderworks Road makes it suitable for medium density development such as town homes and low-rise apartments.
  • Area 4: This area is visually prominent from the east because of its steep topography and dense vegetation. It forms the northern edge of the new development area and will be a connection to Ingleside Chase Reserve which is zoned E2 (Environmental Conservation). It will be largely retained for low-density rural uses and bushland conservation.

The Ingleside Place Strategy has been put on public exhibition along with a number of supporting technical studies. Minister for Planning and Public Spaces and Pittwater MP Rob Stokes said the plan was the result of collaboration between several agencies.

Rob Stokes

Rob Stokes

“We’ve been working closely with Northern Beaches Council, NSW Police, Rural Fire Service and the community to get the planning right for this beautiful part of Sydney. We’ve listened to concerns raised by the Rural Fire Service about bushfires and we’ve put the safety of residents and homes at the centre of this new plan.

“We want to enable Ingleside to grow while protecting its natural beauty for current and future residents. The right infrastructure is also key to support our planned renewal of the area, with upgraded roads, more parks and sports fields, a neighbourhood centre, water management plans and environmental conservation.

“This critical infrastructure will require a small number of land acquisitions within the precinct, and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is working with Northern Beaches Council to ensure this is kept to a minimum,” said Minister Stokes.

Not all residents of Ingleside are pleased with the plan, one who spoke with the Northern Beaches Advocate on condition of anonymity said she was concerned about the impact the change would have on her ability to continue living in Sydney.

“This means I am probably going to have to leave Sydney. I don’t own the property but I have lived here for eight years with my horses. The owners will probably sell up which leaves me having to move out of the area,” said the concerned resident.

While some will approve of a reduction in the number of new homes planned and the retention of the rural character on the northern side of Mona Vale Road, others have called the new plan ‘appalling’.

Stephen Choularton

Stephen Choularton

President of the Bayview and Ingleside Residents Association Stephen Choularton, who is a long term resident of the area, expressed dissatisfaction with the plan.

“It’s unbelievable and ridiculous. They’ve got a bushfire report that ignores Cabbage Tree Road as a way to get out of Ingleside. You can’t even put a granny flat up here on acreage, yet they are sprouting like weeds down the hill.

“It has split Ingleside in half. There are people with extended families who bought here many decades ago with the long-term plan to split their property. That’s all been dashed. There are a lot of people up here who are not happy. We are appalled by it,” said Mr Choularton.

Minister Stokes said he understood the frustration of Ingleside residents who have been waiting years to effectively be told there will be no change.

“I accept the frustration because this has been a long process and it would be dispiriting at the end of that to see your zoning has not changed. This is not the end, there is now something concrete they can provide their comment on. I know one of the concerns is about minimum lot size and I’d encourage them to provide that feedback for the Department.

“The issue that we have to grapple with is the capacity to evacuate. The Rural Fire Service suggested there was a cap before we started to run into evacuation problems. That was found to be around a thousand homes. The issue was then where was the most efficient place to put the new homes, which was south of Mona Vale Road.

“The fundamental character north of Mona Vale Road will not change. There won’t be an urban landscape north of the road. We need places in Pittwater for urban services like nurseries, places to store a boat, our local sawmill operates at Ingleside. We need places for these uses and employment. The zoning reflects that. Rural zoning will permit jobs that Pittwater needs.

“You can say a tale of two cities on either side of the road or you can say a best of both worlds. We’ll have a suburban outcome and a rural outcome in the same place.

“There are a lot of residents who are concerned about increasing housing in Pittwater. This achieves our targets. This development means we don’t need to look at significant development outcomes anywhere else in Pittwater for years to come. Warriewood took the development target for the last 20 years. Ingleside will take our development yield for the next 10-20 years,” said Minister Stokes.

Michael Regan

Michael Regan

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said safety was the top priority when considering the plan for Ingleside.

“We have seen all too recently the devastating impacts of bushfire and we have to make sure we don’t put people and homes in harm’s way. Reducing the scale of the proposed plan for Ingleside is the only option for the safety of the current and future Ingleside community.

“The revised plans are on exhibition and it’s critical local residents understand what is planned and provide their feedback to the NSW Government. I encourage you to register for an information session, view the maps and make sure you have your say before the end of the exhibition period. We will also be considering the revised plans and especially the provision for infrastructure needed to support any growth in this area,” said Mayor Regan.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is seeking public feedback on the Ingleside Place Strategy by 23 July. For more information and to make a submission, visit the Department of Planning website.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, NSW Government