Safe access denied

More open access needed: Renee Wehbe and others who live on the south side of Blacktown say this Westpoint thoroughfare is not open the hours imposed on the centre by Blacktown Council. "As residents of the area, we have a right to our safety," she said. Have your say at blacktownsun.com.au. Picture: Geoff Jones

More open access needed: Renee Wehbe and others who live on the south side of Blacktown say this Westpoint thoroughfare is not open the hours imposed on the centre by Blacktown Council. "As residents of the area, we have a right to our safety," she said. Have your say at blacktownsun.com.au. Picture: Geoff Jones

A short-cut from one side of Blacktown to the other shouldn't be an obstacle course.

Residents on the south side of the CBD have called on Westpoint to adhere to Blacktown Council conditions so they can have safe and easy access to the train station.

When Westpoint had its redevelopment approved in 2000, a condition was that the redeveloped Patrick Street entrance be opened from 5am until midnight for the public to access the station.

It takes double the time for people to walk all the way around or find their way through the centre.

Residents say there hasn't been a north-south thoroughfare for many years with the doors on both the Patrick Street and station sides still locked after 5am and well before midnight.

A Booreea Street resident, who asked not be be named, has had many discussions with Westpoint and the council with limited success and now wants to get the word out.

"The council conditions are clear in black and white," he said.

"Our aim is to inform people that this access should be available to them. "There are a lot of people on the south side of Blacktown who have encountered the doors closed and had to walk around."

One of his neighbours, a Sydney Trains employee who returns from work late at night, described the current situation as an "obstacle course".

Resident Renee Wehbe said there's a simple solution and that there should be around-the-clock access, seven days a week.

She doesn't believe centre security would be an issue if there was a direct thoroughfare.

"Keep the middle level accessible and block off the other levels," she said.

"It would be easier for the elderly and safer for young people coming home from the city on a Friday or Saturday night. It would be a great convenience for everyone."

Blacktown Council has been liaising with Westpoint centre management to deal with such concerns.

"Westpoint have advised that they will comply and allow pedestrian access in compliance with the conditions of consent," a spokeswoman said.

"The council will monitor the issue to ensure compliance with the consent. The council has been advised by Westpoint that they are considering changing the hours of the pedestrian access. However, any changes to those hours to modify the existing conditions of consent must be assessed and approved by Blacktown Council."

The Sun contacted Westpoint several times for a comment but got no response.

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