The changing face of High Street

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Units will soon be replacing these houses. Photo: Melinda Jane

The changing face of Penrith continues unabated, with Council giving the nod to another high-rise apartment block.

Soon, two single storey dwellings at 134-140 High Street will be torn down, making way for a six-storey apartment block comprising 49 units and a 60-space basement car park.

As Penrith’s population continues to surge, it appears inevitable that so will apartment living, with more old houses being demolished and replaced with multi-rise living.

Councillor Jim Aitken said the area, at the Eastern end of High Street near Nepean Hospital, was ripe for such developments.

“You can’t get enough units up there near the hospital for staff,” he said.

Cr Aitken said Penrith’s changing landscape signalled progress, but acknowledged not everyone would be happy with the transition.

Units will soon be replacing these houses. Photo: Melinda Jane

He admitted he himself wouldn’t want to see the city go “all units” but pointed out low density housing was unsustainable.

“If we continue to spread out and all have 1000 square metre blocks then it becomes unaffordable,” he said.

“Where I live they are widening the roads and I’m going to lose some of my yard. I’m not happy about it… but I’ve got to put up with it.”

According to a report prepared for Councillors, the existing character and context of the area is expected to undergo a “significant transition” after it was recently gazetted and “up-zoned” to High Density Residential.

“Council has already approved a number of buildings of this scale in the surrounding streets, however at this stage, none have commenced construction,” the report states.

Councillors approved the development application with a number of special conditions, despite initial fears it would negatively impact the neighbouring heritage building, Kelvin Brae federation house.

Traffic and parking, privacy, overshadowing, decreased property values on adjoining sites, smell from waste, a wind tunnel effect and tree removal were also raised as issues of concern in three submissions regarding the proposal.

Cr Aitken said the applicant, Md Shahin Khan and Shahnawaz Khan trading as Aadhar Developers Pty Ltd, had worked closely with Council to alleviate the concerns of the owners of the heritage site, who were “happy with the outcome”.

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  • Sharon Roughley

    HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN???

    Until fairly recently, this was my Grandparents home – 136 High Street Penrith. My Par built this house for Nanna and himself, and they lived and raised thier 4 children there. They both passed, and until just a couple of years ago, the home was kept in the family until it finally had to be sold.

    Many years ago when the properties at the back of their house (136) and neighbouring house(134) were about to be built, neither my grandparents or the owners of 134(my Pars Brother and wifes home) wanted to sell up and move, so they said no and stood up to the developers choosing not to sell. Developers went ahead and built the units behind 134 and 136 High street, and my Grandparents were told that one of the reasons, that developers wanted to buy their homes/land, was because they could not build later as street access to the units being built would not be permitted to access apartments from High Street, due to the traffic situation on the busy main road. ( If you look at the units that were built on High St closer to the traffic lights, there are NO DRIVEWAYS to access entry to these units)

    Here we are today – more than 2 decades later, in a time when roads are busier, and traffic is heavier, and council have approved this DA for a highrise apartment building with 80 parking spaces – fully acccessible from High Street only metres from such a busy intersection … ???
    WHY and HOW can this be OK ???
    The traffic has only increased over the years as Penrith has grown, and this decision is so hypocritical to what council allowed before in times when traffic was LESS BUSY THAN TODAY. This will be a disaster waiting to happen!!!

    As I was growing up, every time when we visited my grandparents home, my parents would have to slow right down and indicate super early, so no car ran up the back of our car when turning left into the property…. sometimes I would cringe , almost waiting to hear the bang happen, before sighing of relief once we had turned into the driveway safely, and the car behind had passed (And for the record, road rage and impatient drivers did exist even then, and I can assure you that drivers DID NOT appreciate having to slow down quickly, when a car wanted to turn into the driveway) If traffic flow and near miss accidents were happening then, at random times when only the odd car or 2 needed to turn into a driveway, what on earth will it will be like when an apartment block full of residents need to turn off High Street to gain entry??? I am almost too scared to think about it…
    A long traffic island blocking residents from making a right hand turn into driveways when driving up High Street, was put in place way back as a means to keep traffic flowing heading towards the top of High Street. That then saw residents having to drive around the block and come back down High Street (meaning more traffic on that side of the road) to turn into their own driveways. This is still the case, so if this apartment block is built here, is that not going to escalate even more???
    Not only will access from High Street entry constantly hold up the flow of traffic from the lights heading West, but you can bet your bottom dollar, the tow trucks won’t be too far away, having to tend to vehicles being run up the back on a frequent basis – That also raises a whole lot of other issues of parking and traffic holdups while tow trucks need access? It is set to be a domino effect, and not a pleasant one to be caught in…. an open invitation for casualties from both car accidents, and not forgetting the stream of pedestrians who walk up High Street from Penrith High School every morning and afternoon. Imagine cars waiting to turn into the driveways, when hundreds of school kids are heading towards the station?

    How can this decision be one that attained approval,when so many serious points raise great concern??? It seems to scream nothing more than the insentisitvity from a bunch of greedy developers who see only the dollars and cents in the equation….people who have no interest at all in the safety aspect, or preserving the land and homes in our town. The sad thing is that Council seem to ignore all this, and be on the same page as developers, failing miserably when it comes to keeping our city preserved and our residents safe.

    Yes I am upset, annoyed, cranky and very very disappointed to think that our beautiful town that we encourage people to visit, and that we pride ourselves upon where tourism is concerned, is falling victim to the hand of money hungry developers who have no vested interest in anything but the size of their own wallets. It is shameful to think that council who has to power to prevent this from happening, have chosen to ignore all of the above (and a whole lot more unmentioned), and go ahead whacking a stamp of approval on this DA. Hasn’t enough already changed at that intersection – the gateway to the main street of our town? Enough homes have been demolished already, and to continue this practice, especially down the main street, in the name of development… well I’m sorry but all that shows is disrespect. Disrespect to our residents, both past and present, disrespect to our beautiful homes and landscape, and loss of the welcome feeling and charm that our town has always given.

    I know my voice is small, I understand that times change, I realise that business is business, BUT I also feel that preservation and respect to our homes, buildings and surrounds is an essential part of keeping our towns history alive. Haven’t we lost so much of that already? I hate the thought of Penrith becoming a place full of apartments, high rise buildings and traffic congestion. If we let that happen, then the character, warmth and charm of our town will be lost forever.

    I urge Penrith Council, to PLEASE reconsider this DA… and if it is too late to reverse this decision, then think about this ….

    If Council don’t start saying NO to all these high rise apartments down our main streets and throughout our town (largely at the expense of our beautiful older homes and buildings that still do exist), then one day we are all going to wake up, and see this town that we all know and love so very much, being nothing more than the name of a place whose character, charm and beauty is a thing of the past, lost in time and a stranger to us all. Ask anyone who cares…
    I know I don’t want that to happen…. and I am certain there are many people who are thinking the same as well.

    Sharon Roughley.