Lizard Rock

'Lizard Rock’ along Morgan Road in Belrose

Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Council strongly opposes the planning proposal to rezone land along Morgan Road in Belrose to permit development for 450 dwellings for its destruction of natural bushland among a range of other concerns.

The Sydney North Planning Strategic Planning Panel and the NSW Department of Planning and Environment recently approved the public exhibition of the planning proposal.

The proposal and associated documentation is available to view on the Department’s website.

The proposal would allow the destruction of around 45 football size fields of bushland to build 450 homes surplus to any housing targets. The new homes would be built in precious bushland and residents would face extreme bushfire risk.

Council has warned that the planning proposal should be reconsidered in view of significant planning, environmental and hazard issues, including:

  • Bushfire risks – Significant concerns exist regarding the bushfire hazard that applies to the site. Further, the proposal was developed on the premise of evacuation being provided by Morgan Road, including a new slip lane onto Forest Way and a new emergency access onto Oates Place but the availability and utility of these aspects have not been demonstrated in the proposal.
  • Inconsistency with planning strategies – The proposal does not demonstrate strategic merit and is inconsistent with key aspects of the Greater Sydney Region Plan, North District Plan, Northern Beaches Local Strategic Planning Statement – Towards 2040, and Northern Beaches Local Housing Strategy.
  • Inconsistency with Conservation Zones reform – The reform recommends applying a C3 Environmental Management Zone to most of the site due to its high environmental value and the hazards impacting the site
  • Enormous loss of high biodiversity habitat – With 44.7 hectares of bushland to be cleared (equivalent to the size of around 45 rugby fields) the proposal and new development will have significant environmental impact.

Council has repeatedly advised the Department that the planning proposal by Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLALC) does not demonstrate strategic or site-specific merit and should be rejected.

In April 2022, following a Council Resolution, Council wrote to federal and state MPs and relevant ministers to negotiate an alternate solution and financial model so that the MLALC can benefit financially from its land and that the land is preserved as is – in perpetuity.

Whilst Council supports the intent of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and appreciates the importance of enabling Aboriginal people to achieve economic self-determination through developing land, this proposal however lacks merit due to the significant planning, environmental and hazard issues.

It is this lack of merit that underpins Council’s position. The consequences of the proposal are simply unacceptable and do not reflect the community’s aspirations for this site.

This matter has been of significant community interest and will continue to be so.

The community is encouraged to give feedback by making a submission directly to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

The proposal is open for public comment from 26 September to Tuesday 7 November 2023.