High rise plan would be “disastrous”, says Councillor

Marcus Cornish is concerned about the plan for new high rises on Henry Street. Photo: Melinda Jane
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A 38 storey building proposed to be built next to the Lemongrove Bridge on Henry Street has left some Councillors frustrated as developments continue while vitally needed infrastructure plays catch-up.

At last week’s Policy Review meeting, Councillors discussed a Planning Proposal for 57 Henry Street that would potentially include employment related uses, approximately 549 dwellings, and activate the eastern part of the City Centre.

Consisting of two residential towers, one at 25 storeys and one at 38 storeys, Cr Marcus Cornish believes the development would seriously pressure an already strained road network.

“I think this is a ridiculous proposal on that site, there may be a site suitable for this in Penrith, but this is not it,” he said.

“This will cause traffic chaos, this is one of our most clogged intersections in the Penrith CBD and it cannot stand any more pressure.

“With Penrith Council continuing to reduce parking in the CBD and with infrastructure on roads not being properly addressed, this will be disastrous for Penrith.”

Other Councillors have similar fears the site could potentially cause more problems than it solves.

Cr Bernard Bratusa told the Weekender he also has “some concerns about that particular footprint” regarding traffic and safety issues that need to be addressed.

Council endorsed the recommendation for the Planning Proposal to amend Penrith Local Environmental Plan 2010 for the site, and the proposal will now go to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s Gateway process to determine whether it should progress to public and agency consultation.

Cr Karen McKeown said that while this kind of density housing should be located near transport hubs, it’s important to pay attention to periphery suburbs in the area that still lack adequate transport links rather than solely focusing on housing targets set by the State Government.

“I still hold some concerns over parking and traffic and where that particular proposal is situated, especially since we sent through another proposal on the same night within the vicinity for high rises,” she said.

“Council really does need to turn its mind around to ask, ‘what’s the social cost to this’.”

The 57 Henry Street site houses a heritage item, Penrith Infants Department, which is anticipated to be used and managed through integration with the overall development of the site if the proposal goes ahead.

At the same meeting, Council also saw a re-zoning application for 39-49 Henry Street to facilitate a mixed-use development containing 445 apartments, a 100-room hotel, and ground floor commercial and retail premises which could see heights of up to 34 storeys.

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