This DA for a major development on the large site bounded by Epping and Blaxland Roads, near the bridge.
UPDATE: This DA was refused by the Planning Panel after the council assessment found numerous issues with the proposal. The applicant has proceeded to lodge an appeal with the Land & Environment Court. In May 2021, they subsequently lodged amended plans with major revisions. See Volume 2 story here with more information.
A development application has been lodged with the City of Parramatta council for a major development at 2 Epping Road, but encompassing the whole area of 2-16 Epping Road and 2-4 Forest Grove, Epping NSW 2121. This site (commonly referred to as the Austino development after the developer) is where the old Tuffy Mufflers used to be, along with a row of houses facing Epping Road, and the old Epping Bowling Club on Blaxland Road. It is adjacent to Forest Park and opposite the big Langston development next to Epping Bridge in a very prominent site.
This site has been a long saga! The developer bought and consolidated the house lots when the Epping Town Centre was designated - obviously planning a large development. The site was then under the control of Hornsby Shire Council. The council had passed a motion in 2012 to buy the former Epping Bowling Club (by this time, not operating and owned by West Pennant Hills Sports Club) as additional open space for the new high density area. They had identified that it was the only large open area in this part of Epping, and it was also zoned RE1 - public open space for recreation.
Unfortunately, Hornsby never followed through on their motion, and the site was sold for over $12 million to Austino. Then a long planning process started as the developer lodged a Planning Proposal for 8 large towers - over 600 apartments, and more than 20 stories. The zoning on the residential land only allows 8 stories, and they were seeking the rezoning of the public space land.
For a number of years this proposal followed a tortuous path - firstly refused by Hornsby, then finally in late 2019 refused by the Department of Planning. In the meantime, local residents (the Save Epping's Forest Grove group and the Trust) meantime opposed it for a wide range of reasons - vastly excessive development way in excess of the zoning, loss of the public open space with no suitable compensatory space for the public, overshadowing and impact on the park, traffic etc etc. In the meantime, the buildings were knocked down and the site has become an eye sore.
Earlier this year the Trust surveyed Epping residents and asked what you would like to see happen, especially to the open space component (bowling club area) - your response was definitely that it be retained as open space and you had some great suggestions of community uses for it. See the full results here: https://eppingcivictrust.org/trustsurvey/
2020 Development Application:
Now, a new DA has been lodged with City of Parramatta council (who now look after this area) for five tower blocks (four facing Epping Road, one on Forest Grove) with car access off Blaxland Road. The indicative map leaves most of the Bowling Club site empty. But is that really the long term intent?
The Trust has carefully gone through this DA and have the following concerns:
In addition, the Trust would really like to know upfront what Council is doing? We have lobbied continually for them to step up and get control of the open space and use it for the residents of Epping. They need to do that now before it is too late.
You can see the full planning documents here: http://eplanning.parracity.nsw.gov.au/Pages/XC.Track/SearchApplication.aspx?id=633399