Lives in limbo as Blacktown Council plots future

Residents of 26 homes in Blacktown face having their houses zoned as public land, leaving them trapped in limbo for decades until the council offers to buy the properties.

Leigh Watkins, of Greenwood Grove, said Blacktown Council’s plans had shocked the neighbourhood.

‘‘Essentially there is no plan in place for when the council can afford to buy our homes, so we could have an axe hanging over our heads for years,’’ she said.

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‘‘We won’t be able to sell because we’re zoned for recreation, and we can’t renovate it.’’

Another resident whose home would be rezoned, Henry Ng, said a council officer told his family there was no specific plan for his home.

‘‘They said the council would buy the properties some time in the next 25 years,’’ Mr Ng said.

‘‘The uncertainty is killing us.’’

The zoning to RE1 Public Recreation in the council’s Draft Blacktown Local Environmental Plan covers 22 homes around Joseph Frank Park.

In Ms Watkin’s street, four homes would be affected, with another three in Keld Place, nine in Ida Place, five in Heart Place and one in Kildare Road. 

Under the proposal another two homes in Ida Place and two more in Heart Place would be zoned for use as a road.

The council gave no timeframe for compensating any of the property owners.

The mayor and general manager refused to directly answer questions but referred them to a spokeswoman.

‘‘The draft Blacktown Local Environment Plan 2013 is a long-term plan for the city and hence it may take some time to realise the development potential it proposes,’’ she said. 

‘‘The acquisition of land for a public purpose will take place over a long period of time as the area develops.’’

The spokeswoman said the homes would one day be purchased at the value they would be worth, had they not been zoned for public use. 

The affected properties all surround an existing park and are just minutes walking distance to the renovated Blacktown Showgrounds.

Residents said they did not understand the need to turn their homes into more open space.

The council’s response was that Blacktown’s future population would need bigger parks.

‘‘The increase in the density of development within the Blacktown City Centre places a greater need to provide more useable, accessible, functional and a sufficient amount of public open space for the projected increase in population.’’

■ The Blacktown Draft Local Environmental Plan is on exhibition and open to public submissions until April 19;

■ The plan includes increasing residential density in Blacktown, Mount Druitt, Rooty Hill and Seven Hills;

■ The town centres are planned to house the bulk of 44,000 new homes and 45,000 new jobs required over the next two decades.

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