Hillsong wants local site; Hindu temple also possible

Mayor John Thain at the proposed Hillsong site. Photo: Melinda Jane

Faith looks set to grow in Penrith with two development applications (DA) lodged for multi-million dollar places of worship in the past month.

Last month, a development application for Hillsong Church was lodged to Penrith Council for a $29 million facility in Werrington.

The development would include an 89 place child care centre, an auditorium for 400 occupants that would be extended to 1350 occupants, as well as meeting rooms and administration offices.

This month, another DA was lodged for a proposed Hindu Temple at Aldington Road, Kemps Creek, worth $41 million.

“The proposal is for a Mandir (Hindu Temple) with landscaping including playgrounds, assembly hall, dining hall, and monk’s residence, in the Hindu architectural tradition,” application documents submitted to Council state.

“While there are a number of Hindu temples in Sydney, there are currently no Hindu temples in the Penrith LGA, to cater to the rapidly growing population.

“The growth of the Hindu speaking population, population born in India, and people identifying their religion as Hindu, has increased more rapidly than population growth between 2011 and 2016.”

But Penrith Mayor John Thain has serious concerns about the development of Hillsong in an already busy area located near Cobham Juvenile Justice Centre and Kurrambee School, and wants to make sure it’s done properly.

“It’s going to generate a lot of traffic. This is a major development. It’s a fairly big site, it’s got to be compliant,” Cr Thain said.

“I’ve asked for a briefing to be brought to Council to have a good look at it.

“I’ve got to be convinced.”

Earlier this year it was announced that mandatory independent local hearing and assessment panels (IHAPs) will be introduced to Sydney metropolitan councils to make decisions on DAs over $5 million and under $30 million.

Following the introduction of IHAPs, Cr Thain wants to ensure any potential issues from the development are resolved before it creates additional pressure as Penrith continues to develop.

“I’m a little bit cynical that it’s $29 million and not $30 million,” Cr Thain said.

Applications over $30 million will be dealt with by regional planning panels.

A briefing on the Hillsong development is expected to be presented to Council early next year.