The 10,000 square meter undeveloped site, intended for high-density housing development, is located approximately 300 meters from Epping train station. It was previously used as a tunnel construction site for the Sydney Metro Northwest project and for the construction of an adjacent rail operations facility.
In 2020, the state government approved a concept draft for a mixed-use development with five buildings and up to 15 floors.
Revised plans later sought approval for changes, including increasing the approved maximum building height by up to 3.83 meters.
Nineteen apartments would be provided as affordable housing for low-income earners.
The City of Parramatta opposed the development, arguing that it should include more commercial space and create more jobs to support the region’s growing population, in line with Epping’s role as a strategic hub.
“The updated proposal still undermines the approved outcomes of the development, particularly in relation to building height, setbacks and building separation, and solar access to communal open spaces,” it said in its submission on the proposal.
However, the planning department argued that the site’s development objectives were primarily focused on housing and that the proposed 923 square meters of commercial space was appropriate as the site was separated from the center of Epping by the railway line. An increase in commercial space to the area desired by the municipality of at least 10,120 square meters is also not feasible, as there is a high office space vacancy rate of 24 percent in the city center.
The commission agreed, concluding that an increase in commercial space on the site “would constitute an impediment to the future revitalization of the site.” [Epping] “City Center”.
“The Commission considers that the project is consistent with the existing strategic planning framework as it will create additional housing with excellent access to public transport, employment centers, services and amenities,” the decision said.
Wearne, who represents the Epping ward, said locals had pushed for a road through the large site, more shops and better pedestrian access to the station.
“There has always been development there, so I was not opposed to development on this site, but the size, scale, bulk and lack of consideration of issues that were seen as important locally is annoying.”
The approval conditions also required the 19 affordable housing units to be provided and managed by a community housing provider for 15 years, rather than 10 years, which the developer agreed to.