553-unit plan for Penrith dramatically rejected by Planning Panel

An artist's impression of the development.
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Plans for a $200 million development in the heart of Penrith have been sensationally refused by a Planning Panel, leaving the 553-unit plan up in smoke.

The decision to refuse consent for the two developments was revealed last week, after 18 months of negotiation between Penrith City Council and the developers behind Thornton Estate.

In March 2022, plans were revealed for a mixed-use development to be built behind Penrith Station on Lord Sheffield Circuit.

The documents attached to the Development Application (DA) state detailed plans for four towers containing a supermarket, childcare centre, medical facility and over 500 residential apartments.


If greenlit, the completed development would “deliver a diverse range of housing options within the Penrith LGA” and “generate substantial investment in the local economy”, a planner said.

While it was ideal to “construct the entire super-lot at the same time” the developer submitted two separate applications “to enable the potential for a staged approach”, the Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE) attached to the DA said.

In line with Council’s Local Environmental Plan – which requires a community infrastructure offer – the developer offered more than $5 million in monetary incentives for improvements to Penrith City Park and Allen Place Laneway to ensure the development accommodates existing and future needs.

At the meeting, it was determined that the offer for community infrastructure was “inappropriate” considering the increase in height thought to be achieved.

The Sydney Western City Planning Panel also flagged concerns related to the building’s height and bulk, as well as written submissions from members of the community.

The Panel was addressed by three members of the public, including two real estate agents who spoke of “the promise offered by the site” and how “approving the development would assist in increasing housing supply”.

“Penrith needs development like that in Parramatta,” Morton Property Consultant David Lipman said.

Shari Driver was the only resident who spoke at the Panel. She expressed her concerns about flood evacuation, saying she “supported what was written in the council staff report”.

Despite the significant incentive on the table, the final decision was reached that the inadequate parking, facilities and utilities, as well as overshadowing from the building led to the proposal being rejected.

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