National Trust NSW has lodged an objection to the proposal to build hundreds of high-density dwellings at the IBM site in West Pennant Hills at 55 Coonara Avenue.
National Trust advocacy director, Graham Quint, said redevelopment should be restrict to the area formerly developed for the IBM centre and its carpark, and the award-winning IBM buildings should be retained.
See the full submission to the General Manager of the Hills Shire Council, Michael Edgar, below:
IBM site – 55 Coonara Avenue, West Pennant Hills (1/2018/PLP)
On 7 December, 2017, the National Trust wrote to The Hills Shire Council lodging an objection to the Development Application lodged by Mirvac in regard to the former IBM Headquarters at 55 Coonara Avenue, West Pennant Hills (1/2018/PLP).
The National Trust received a communication this morning from Mirvac commenting on the Trust’s submission and indicating that the company had revised its Development Application.
The Trust responded to Mirvac and I detail below that response and request that Council accept this further submission as an objection by the National Trust to the revised application.
The National Trust’s submission of 7 December, 2017 was based on the Development Application lodged by Mirvac and the documentation relating to that Development Application.
Mirvac’s letter indicates that it has now revised the Development Application (“the zoning currently proposed by Mirvac”) and the National Trust welcomes the opportunity to comment on the revised Application.
The new proposed E2 zoning for the ten hectares of remnant natural forest (Critically Endangered Forest) and its associated 2 ha minimum lot size and 9.0 metre building height limits, would permit the construction of five residential allotments with roadways, footpaths, sewerage, electricity and fire protection zones. Mirvac’s letter claims that the forest will be protected but the revised zoning does not protect the forest.
The Hills Development Control Plan (DCP) 2012 sets out the objectives and Development Controls for the significant vegetation on the site: –
(i) To preserve the existing significant vegetation on the site.
(ii) To ensure the ongoing maintenance of the significant vegetation on the site, at cost to any future residents on the site.
- Future development on the site should include a Vegetation Management Area of approximately 18.28ha for the significant vegetation located in the southern portion of the site.
- The Vegetation Management Area should be identified as a Restricted Development Area on the title.
- Future development on the site should include the provision of a Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) in accordance with Council’s Vegetation Management Plan Guidelines.
- The Vegetation Management Area must not form any part of the Asset Protection Zone on the site.
The Mirvac letter does not acknowledge the Critically Endangered Forest designation for the Blue Gum High Forest on this site, nor does it respond to the Trust’s call for a referral under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Ecological investigations of the site may not have found a number of endangered species – the Dural Land Snail, Glossy Black Cockatoo and Powerful Owl. However these species have all been recorded on this site.
The Trust notes the revised plan for the dedication of 2,493 hectares of public open space for use as playing fields but questions whether this may involve the clearing of Critically Endangered Forest.
Mirvac states that it is now seeking the highest possible level of protection for the remnant native vegetation on the site. A higher level of protection than that now proposed would be the “AB2” (40 ha minimum lot size) which applies to the adjoining Forestry land.
Mirvac’s engagement of the original architects Devine Erby Mazlin to contribute to the masterplan visioning and concept design and their support for the demolition of their original buildings does not negate the history and significance of these award winning buildings and landscape plan.
Mirvac purchased this site with its employment zoning and a visit to the site yesterday by National Trust staff indicated that the buildings and their large carparks were full to capacity with NorthConnex personnel . This appears to contradict Mirvac’s statement that “there are no viable users for office accommodation at this location.”
Similarly, the major increase in housing proposed for the West Pennant Hills / Cherrybrook region would necessitate additional school /TAFE development but Mirvac only indicates that “different types of potential future uses” …”were not shown to be appropriate.”
The Trust welcomes this opportunity to provide further comment to The Hills Shire Council on the amended proposal.
Director – Advocacy