Developers behind a multimillion-dollar project, expected to generate thousands of jobs in Western Sydney, are concerned the employment park on the banks of the Nepean River is under threat of being “unviable”.
Precinct Capital planned to create more than 4000 permanent jobs at the $613 million Nepean Business Park — and as many as 14,000 jobs in the wider community — after plans for the major small business hub were unveiled in October with the support of Penrith Council and Jobs Minister, Stuart Ayres.
However, Precinct Capital chairman Bruce Baudinet has revealed the project was under threat of becoming unviable following the NSW Planning Department’s disclosure of draft development control plans for the site.
“This project is at risk,” Mr Baudinet said.
“The only way out of the economic disaster that we are currently facing is through job creation and this project could generate as man as 18,000 local jobs and $500 million in economic value in Penrith every year.”
Mr Baudinet argued the NSW Planning Department were proposing to effectively halve the employment opportunity of the site.
Mr Baudinet told the Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce on Friday that Planning Department controls would “create an economic viability issue, but mean a major loss of jobs in Penrith.
Project director, Dylan Baudinet told The Penrith Press the Planning Department was working to impose a “combination of restrictive and unique development controls”.
“Next door to the Nepean Business Park project is another industrial precinct that we hope to be able to build upon to create further jobs for local small business,” Mr Baudinet said. “But the Planning Department is working to impose massive setbacks and overwhelming tree canopy controls that will threaten the likelihood of this project.”
The project director said although the setbacks would work on a “large lot industrial precinct”, however, the proposed Development Control Plan was ineffective for the Nepean Business Park proposal and its “small business centric plan”.
“Our plans were working to provide a 25 per cent tree canopy across the business park, as well as the revitalisation of the Nepean River Walk precinct,” Mr Baudinet said.
“But if the Planning Department impose these restrictions just 30 per cent of the business park will be able to be developed and thousands of jobs will be lost.”
100 subdivided small and medium business lots were proposed for the subdivision plans for the site.
Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown said she was willing to take the fight for the employment precinct to the government.
“This is certainly a project council supports 100 per cent and we have a focus on job creation in Western Sydney,” she said. “We recently took a big hit with the rezoning of employment land for housing at Jordan Springs, so we desperately need this project to provide local jobs and realise the 30 minute city plan for Penrith.
“But in order to do that we need projects like this to get off the ground.”
A NSW DPIE spokesman argued there was no draft Development Control Plan (DCP) for the Nepean Business Park.
“The department is currently finalising a draft DCP for the whole Penrith Lakes site which will be publicly exhibited for feedback from stakeholders and the community,” the spokesman said.
The draft DCP will provide controls to ensure environmental issues are dealt with appropriately as development applications are assessed.
NewsLocal understands the draft DCP will also make sure water runoff from the industrial subdivision doesn’t impact on the Nepean River or Penrith Lakes.
Controls will be proposed to make sure hardstand areas (like driveways and roofs), with their increased runoff, won’t dominate the landscape and allow for water quality controls.
This article was originally published in The Daily Telegraph on 26 October 2020.