Overview of the Hills Showground Station State Significant Development Application
Landcom and Sydney Metro lodged a concept proposal as part of a State Significant Development application for the government land surrounding Hills Showground Station.
The application was on public exhibition from 13 November until 10 December 2019. You can view the application on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.
Vision for the site
Our vision is for a thriving local mixed use centre that provides a walkable, lively place enhanced by strong connections to world class transport and the cultural and recreational destination of Castle Hill Showground. The precinct will provide diverse housing for different generations and lifestyles, framed by green open spaces that encourage connectivity and celebrates the Garden Shire outlook.
Consultation helping to shape this proposal
Landcom and Sydney Metro have undertaken engagement with a range of stakeholders, to discuss planning controls for the site and to inform the current concept proposal. Landcom is committed to continued meaningful engagement with stakeholders who have an interest in the development. To inform the SSDA, Landcom has sought to ensure the interests of stakeholders are identified and addressed through a range of consultation activities which are outlined in Appendix V of the EIS.
Issues raised most consistently by stakeholders related to:
- ease of access around the precinct and in particular to public transport and the adjoining Castle Hill Showground
- provision of open public space
- visual design, through site view lines and overall mass of the buildings
- provision of diverse housing options.
The feedback provided throughout the development of the concept masterplan informed the final draft designs including the designs being amended to allow for:
- an increase in the amount of publicly accessible open space
- realignment of buildings to provide greater space between towers which allows for improved ventilation and view lines
- a new internal road to make access through the precinct easier
- wider, well lit pathways on deeper setbacks to improve pedestrian access
- a range of housing options including 1,2 and 3 bedroom apartments.
What is the Environmental Impact Statement about?
The Hills Showground Station Precinct, Environmental Impact Statement contains information about the proposed development and an assessment of possible environmental impacts. Key aspects of the Environmental Impact Statement are summarised below.
Planning approval is sought for:
- a total gross floor area of 175,796 square metres across three development sites known as Precinct West, Doran Drive Precinct and Precinct East
- a maximum residential gross floor area of 167,290 square metres allowing for up to 1,900 dwellings including a minimum of five percent for Affordable Housing
- a minimum non-residential gross floor area of 6,700 square metres and up to 13,600 square metres
- a new public plaza with a minimum area of 1400 square metres referred to as Doran Drive Plaza
- a new public park of a minimum 3,500 square metres referred to as Precinct East Park
- up to 2,273 car parking spaces and 799 bicycle spaces
- strategies for utilities and services provision, managing stormwater and drainage, achievement of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) and design excellence
- a civil plan addressing the timing of future subdivision, construction, release and development of land
- subdivision of Hills Showground Precinct East into future major lots, public domain areas and roads.
The concept State Significant Development application fully complies with planning controls which allow for residential, retail and commercial uses.
A snapshot of the Environmental Impact Statement
The Environmental Impact Statement considers a range of environmental impacts and how any impacts can be mitigated. A short summary is provided below of a number of the key issues considered. More detail on each is provided in the full submission on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s website. The full report also includes stormwater and flooding, noise and vibration, heritage, utilities, infrastructure and services.
A vibrant mixed-use centre is planned, including high density residential dwellings and spaces for commercial, retail and community use to meet the needs of the future community.
The EIS outlines the proposed use of the land in the sites defined as 'Hills Showground Precinct West', 'Doran Drive Precinct' and 'Hills Showground Precinct East'.
Doran Drive Precinct is planned as a high density, mixed use area supported by a 1,400 square metre plaza that provides an accessible link between Hills Showground Station and bus interchange, retail and community spaces and Castle Hill Showground.
Precinct West will be characterised by a mix of uses within tall, slender buildings with easy access to Doran Drive Plaza.
Precinct East is planned for residential use only and provides a transition from the future mixed use local centre of Doran Drive Precinct to a precinct with a range of housing options and easy access to private and public open spaces.
Open spaces are planned across the three precincts including a 1,400 square metre plaza known as Doran Drive Plaza adjoining Hills Showground Station, a 3,600 square metre park in Precinct East, as well as wide pathways with deep setbacks to allow for landscaping that reflects the garden shire vista.
Traffic and transport
The concept proposal has been designed in consultation with The Hills Shire Council and its vision for the Castle Hill Showground. Connections in and through the site have been reviewed and considered through the development of the concept proposal and provide for easy walkable access through and around the precinct for pedestrians and vehicles.
The concept proposal responds to the opportunity for a transit oriented centre with reduced car parking to reflect the higher level of public transport services. Given the close proximity to world class public transport, the need for private vehicle journeys will be reduced.
To improve access and create better road safety outcomes, an additional road within the East Precinct is proposed which makes access to the precinct easier for pedestrians and safer for traffic accessing Carrington Road.
The building layout has been planned to allow solar access to key open spaces and minimise overshadowing. The concept masterplan achieves or exceeds the Apartment Design Guide requirements for building separation.
Street wall heights and building setbacks are included in the proposal to ensure the scale of buildings provides a positive experience for pedestrians at the street level and minimises the impact of wind between buildings.
Communal open spaces for future residents are planned which could be designed as shared vegetable gardens, grassed lawn with seating or rooftop gardens.
Open spaces are planned, including a flexible 1,400 square metre plaza known as Doran Drive Plaza which adjoins Hills Showground Station and provides direct links through to Castle Hill Showground. A generous public park of up to 3,500 square metres which includes a play space for younger children is included in the East Precinct.
The proposal recognises the importance of Castle Hill Showground as a well-loved community asset. The northern interface of the Doran Drive Plaza was designed in collaboration with The Hills Shire Council to provide a seamless, walkable connection to the Castle Hill Showground.
The concept plan demonstrates 14% of the entire precinct designated as publicly accessible open space.
Ecologically Sustainable Development
The concept proposal includes initiatives that contribute to a reduction in heat in residences and in open areas including roof gardens. The future developers will be expected to follow Landcom’s sustainability targets.
A key intention of the concept proposal has been to retain many existing mature trees to ensure instant canopy coverage, maintenance of existing landscape character, and a sustainable approach. Consideration of native and drought tolerant planting has been made within the proposed species palette.
Stormwater treatment to mitigate any potential indirect impacts on the environment include the installation of rainwater tanks, installation of gross pollutant traps and filtration devices at major discharge points.
The concept proposal allows for up to 1,900 dwellings across three precincts known as Hills Showground Precinct West, Doran Drive Precinct and Hills Showground Precinct West.
The proposal allows for a range of housing types to meet the needs of various household configurations including, but not limited to, professionals, downsizers, young families and single person households. This could include one, two and three bedroom apartments, and smaller home office apartments.
The proposal includes 5% Affordable Housing, in line with Landcom’s Housing Affordability and Diversity Policy. Affordable Housing is managed by a Community Housing Provider for a minimum 10 years.
The Hills Showground Station Precinct adjoins Castle Hill Showground, which is currently being masterplanned by The Hills Shire Council. Castle Hill Showground is an iconic local attraction, which will not be impacted by plans for the Hills Showground Station Precinct.
The concept proposal includes a heritage interpretation strategy, to be reviewed and implemented by the future developers. Heritage will be recognised through interpretive signage, public art, planting of native and other plants that reflect the agricultural history.