Childcare centres unaware of proposed Alpha Park makeover

UNINFORMED: Executives at Growing Potential, a not-for-profit organisation that runs two childcare centres in Alpha Park, were unaware of a Blacktown Council proposal to rezone the northern end of the park. Picture: Isabella Lettini

UNINFORMED: Executives at Growing Potential, a not-for-profit organisation that runs two childcare centres in Alpha Park, were unaware of a Blacktown Council proposal to rezone the northern end of the park. Picture: Isabella Lettini

Affected organisations have been left in the dark regarding a proposed overhaul of Alpha Park.

Blacktown Council’s vision for the site would see ground-level shops topped by housing at the northern end of the park, opposite Westpoint Shopping Centre.

A proposed amendment of the Blacktown Local Environmental Plan (2015) would see a 9,500 square metre block of the park rezoned from public recreation to mixed use. The proposal would allow development up to 26 metres high.

The affected area is currently occupied by the Jack Nay Memorial Tennis Courts, as well as council-owned buildings that are leased by not-for-profit organisations Growing Potential and Youth Off The Streets.

Growing Potential operates the Childrenfirst childcare centres Alpha Street Preschool and Balmoral Street Preschool, among its six centres in Blacktown.

Growing Potential chief executive Otto Henfling said the organisation had been based at the Alpha Street site since 1948. He was unaware of any proposal that would affect their use of the two buildings.

A Youth Off The Streets spokesman could not confirm whether the organisation had been informed of any plans that would impact their use of the site.

Residents living near the park received a letter about the council’s proposal dated August 23.

A Blacktown Council spokeswoman said there was no formal proposal for redevelopment of the park, despite the planned rezoning.

“This proposal will provide the planning framework to achieve council’s vision for Alpha Park, which is to better activate the northern part of the park through ground-floor community or retail/commercial uses, with residential development providing passive surveillance after hours,” she said.

“As with the child care centres, the existing community building will remain in its current location. The proposed B4 Mixed Use planning controls would permit the existing community facility to be incorporated into any redevelopment of the northern part of Alpha Park.”

Submissions for the proposal close on September 20. There will be a public hearing regarding the reclassification on Thursday, October 19, at the Blacktown Civic Centre.

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