APARTMENT blocks up to 20 storeys high will be built near rail stations in The Hills under updated plans for the region.
On Sunday, the State Government released detailed proposals for the Showground, Bella Vista and Kellyville station precincts.
The latest proposals build on initial plans released by the Government in 2013 for higher density development along the $8.3bn Sydney Metro Northwest rail line.
At Bella Vista and Showground, the proposal is to allow buildings up to 20 storeys high closest to stations.
At Kellyville, there are plans for towers up to 15 storeys, while there would also be eight-storey and six-storey apartment blocks located further from the station.
Other initiatives in the proposals include a possible new primary school at Bella Vista, and a commitment to “investigate” a new high school to be built at Castle Hill, Showground station or Bella Vista.
Roads would also be upgraded, while new streets would be built and more open space provided.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the NSW Government’s plans for the precincts include about 13,500 homes and 14,000 jobs.
“Our plans will support these precincts to become vibrant new towns, with new homes close to jobs, parks, shops and restaurants,” Mr Stokes said.
The train line is expected to be up and running by 2019, while the housing targets released for the region extend to 2036.
“The opportunity to provide residential growth for new, vibrant communities, together with a world-class public transport system, is a first for the northwestern Sydney region,” Castle Hill state MP Ray Williams said in a release.
Draft plans will be on exhibition until February 28.
Showground Station Precinct
The area around Showground station is set to become a bustling cultural precinct with high and low-rise apartment buildings, new shops, indoor sports grounds and job opportunities.
An ambitious 20-year plan unveiled by the NSW Government on Sunday also includes the train station precincts of Bella Vista and Kellyville.
A new town centre is planned for the Showground precinct in Castle Hill, connecting the new station to Castle Hill Showground, which will be retained and upgraded to include a community centre, indoor sports grounds and skate park.
Residential apartments will be located above town centre retail and commercial buildings with maximum heights up to 20 storeys.
A sub precinct is planned for nearby Carrington Rd, which will be a mixed use area of commercial and residential developments with heights ranging from 16 storeys on the northern side of the road and 12 storeys immediately to the south, reducing to six storeys further from the station.
Detached houses and townhouses up to three storeys will be built in the southeastern portion of the precinct around Dawes Ave, Chapman Ave and Fishburn Cresent.
The existing light industrial and bulky goods precinct on Victoria Ave will be retained and enhanced to allow a broader range of commercial uses including offices and business premises up to six storeys.
According to the proposal, the precinct could provide 5000 new dwellings and 2300 new jobs over the next 20 years.
“Focusing the supply of new homes closest to the station means that more residents will be able to benefit from the convenience of being so close to the railway station as well as local shops, cafes and other services,” the plan says.
“The precinct is also being planned so that getting around on foot, bike and public transport will be realistic and viable modes of travel.”
The latest plan is a departure from the Hills Shire Council’s rail corridor strategy, endorsed last month, which uses dwellings per hectare rather than building heights to guide development.
Mayor Michelle Byrne said she would be looking closely at the Government’s strategy to see whether local infrastructure would be able to cope with increased development.
“We think we got it right in the Hill’s Corridor Strategy, we think the densities in our strategy we can actually service,” she said.
“At this point I’m not convinced we can service the densities proposed in the Government’s plan, but we will be looking very closely at them over the next few months.
“We need to consider that in the light of the fact this is the Garden Shire and the character we’re trying to promote in the shire.”
The precinct plan also proposes new and upgraded intersections including traffic signals at Carrington Rd and Middleton Ave, and Carrington Rd and Doran Drive intersections.
Other works to be investigated include widening Showground Rd to four lanes and extending Carrington Rd between Victoria Ave and Windsor Rd to provide for buses, pedestrians and cyclists only.
A range of public open spaces are proposed including new sporting fields at Castle Hill Showground and expanding Chapman Avenue Reserve.