The NSW Government has bowed to pressure from Northern Beaches Council and scrapped the Ingleside Place Strategy.

An announcement published on the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) website today (Friday, 10 June) announced the decision not to proceed with the draft Ingleside Place Strategy but also threw into doubt investment in infrastructure in the area.

“The department has completed its planning work for Ingleside and will not be proceeding with the Ingleside Place Strategy. The department acknowledges the cost of providing infrastructure and acquiring land for water management, flooding and riparian corridor protection affects the viability of delivering homes in Ingleside,” said the DPIE announcement.

Mayor Michael Regan welcomed the decision not to proceed, with Northern Beaches Council having made a submission which opposed the draft Ingleside Place Strategy.

Michael Regan

Michael Regan

“This news will be very welcome by many in our community and it’s great to have more certainty now for the future of this area. Planning for Ingleside will be handed back to Council and we’ll consider it as part of the development of our new Local Environmental Plan which we are working towards for the whole Northern Beaches area.

“However, we will not be considering any new housing development of the scale proposed by the government given we now have all the studies to demonstrate the significant bushfire risk, the environmental and Aboriginal heritage impacts and the need for costly infrastructure in order to make such a development feasible,” said Mayor Regan.

Ingleside split in two

Northern Beaches Council objected to the plan primarily on the basis of bushfire safety, with Powderworks Road a potential pinch point in the event of a fire. Council also felt the plan did not deliver any affordable housing in line with its housing policy.

Originally slated to receive 3,400 new dwellings, concerns over bushfire safety risk saw that reduced to 980 new homes in the draft Ingleside Place Strategy. The scrapping of the plan means Northern Beaches Council will need to find 980 new homes elsewhere in the Local Government Area to deliver on planning commitments. Mayor Michael Regan has said there are more suitable places than Ingleside to add new homes.

“Brookvale for me, is far better placed to take the future development targets both now and in the future. It is where the jobs are and is close to the transport links, including future ones such as Beaches Link tunnel. That said, staff may have a different view. Either way, Ingleside is not the answer,” Mayor Regan told the Sydney Morning Herald last October.

The majority of the submissions to the DPIE Ingleside Place Strategy Consultation Outcomes Report were opposed to the Place Strategy proceeding. The report noted objections grouped into three key areas:

  • Road infrastructure unsuitable for increased traffic density, especially in the event of a fire emergency
  • Environmental impact of the increase in housing density
  • Overall proposed density of housing, particularly in the area of Wilga Street with only one access route
Ingleside water tank

While the decision to scrap the plan will please many, development of much-needed infrastructure, including water and sewer access, sports fields and community facilities, is now under a cloud.

A NSW Government source confirmed the Ingleside plan was cancelled, with all the implications that entailed, meaning any proposed infrastructure upgrades were also cancelled and current residents were ‘back to square one’.

Northern Beaches Council will now be the responsible agency for planning controls at Ingleside. Council have indicated they will request the transfer of NSW Government owned land at Ingleside so it can be used for public purposes, such as sports fields, recreation and biodiversity offsets.

“We now have an opportunity to repurpose some of this less environmentally sensitive land for broad community use,” said Mayor Regan.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate

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