An independent planning panel has followed in the footsteps of the Land & Environment Court (Court), approving a contentious cemetery for Wallacia Golf Course.
Late last month, the Sydney Western City Planning Panel (Panel) unanimously approved DA19/0875, which proposed changing the use of part of the existing golf course to a 27,000 plot cemetery.
It also green-lit the reconfiguration of the golf course to nine holes and rubber-stamped plans for a new pool, gym, putting and bowling greens.
The assessment of DA19/0875 overlapped with the assessment of DA17/1092, the latter of which was originally refused by the Panel after applying the determination of the Independent Planning Commission on July 12, 2019.
Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust appealed the decision, following which substantial amendments to the development application (DA) were made. It also lodged DA19/0875.
On May 11 this year, DA17/1092 was ultimately approved, with the Court finding the proposed development would not cause negative social impacts to the Wallacia community.
“A major source of opposition to the proposal centered upon the perceived negative social and character impacts of a substantial portion of the golf course into a cemetery,” the Panel explained in its Determination and Statement of Reasons for DA19/0875 dated August 31.
“The Panel was not ultimately satisfied that the DA could be refused for that reason after taking into account the judgment setting out the Court’s reasons for approving the DA.
“The retention of a nine hole golf course or some other form of publicly accessible green recreation space contiguous with the club is seen as important as preserving a sufficient separation with the town, given the scale of the proposed facility.”
As a condition of the approval, fresh development consent will be required to continue the club if the golf course ceases operation.
Community members and Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies have fought tooth and nail against the cemetery proposal since it was first floated several years ago.
The Weekender reached out to Ms Davies for comment and to seek an update on the NSW Government’s plans to consolidate Sydney metropolitan cemetery operators, but she did not respond by time of print.
It is understood the development consent granted by the Court must be surrendered before a construction certificate for DA19/0875 can be issued.
Alena Higgins is the Weekender’s Senior News Reporter, primarily covering courts and Council issues.