Agnes Banks residents say development would ruin rural way of living

Wes Pembroke is against the proposed development. Photo: Megan Dunn.
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Residents say a new proposed Indian culture centre in Agnes Banks will ruin their rural way of living, as submissions flow in opposing the plans.

However, members of the Vaishnav Sangh of Sydney, the group behind the Development Application, say the development will have minimal impact and is greatly needed for the large Indian community in Penrith.

Situated at 682 Castlereagh Road, Agnes Banks, the proposal would see a current existing dwelling on the site extended to create the cultural centre with 64 car spaces and one mini-bus space.

Agnes Banks resident Wes Pembroke said the development would impact the rural character of the area and bring about traffic and parking congestion.

“It’s a rural setting and that’s why we like it. Kooringal Drive, where the centre is on the corner of, is nine houses on the whole street, we don’t have kerb and guttering,” he said.

“Interrupting the peace and quiet and restricting the access in and out of the road are our biggest concerns.”

The purpose of the centre is for members of the Indian Hindu community to gather and celebrate key Indian festivals, hold monthly music and drama performances, provide classes for young children in music language and dance, promote and teach the Indian Hindu way of life, as well as supporting the elderly.

Currently, the group holds these events at hired venues around the Penrith Local Government Area.

A similar proposal for the site was put forward in 2018, to which residents heavily opposed.

This was withdrawn as a result of the concerns raised.

Himanshu Shah from the Vaishnav Sangh of Sydney said the group is highly respectful of the local community and will ensure to adhere to the development guideline requirements.

“We have provided sufficient parking spaces and not to hinder the local community and the passing traffic in the area,” he said.

“The comprehensive list of documents we have submitted to the council outline the benefits of such a project to the local community, with minimal impact to the environment.”

On the application the group has stated there will be up to 15 attendees on two weekdays, 50 on weekends and up to 200 on weekend special events.

The application states there will be approximately 12 weekend event days per year.

Londonderry MP Prue Car encouraged the community to share their views with Penrith Council on the matter.

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