Council asks for more detail on Old Sydney town redevelopment plan

The Bring Back Old Sydney Town group is hopeful of a satisfactory outcome for proposed redevelopment of the former OST site, with Central Coast Council asking World Cultural Tourism Village (WCTV) to do more work on its planning proposal.

Council received a planning proposal in August, 2020, from WCTV seeking to amend the zoning of land comprising the Australian Reptile Park and former Old Sydney Town site.

The proposal seeks to rezone approximately 120ha of land to enable a mixture of land uses, including tourism attractions, tourism-related retail and accommodation, retail, business, residential development and conservation.

A spokesperson said Council has requested that WCTV undertake further studies and investigations prior to finalising the proposed concept.

“Council is currently awaiting receipt of this additional information,” the spokesperson said.

“Once received, Council will continue the assessment of the proposal.

“The planning proposal is currently not scheduled for an upcoming Local Planning Panel or Council meeting.”

Bring Back Old Sydney Town (BBOST) spokesperson, Jake Cassar, said the latest development was a win for the community.

“Our argument has always been to change the size, scale and nature of the housing development to fit in with the surrounding area, and to ensure that the housing cannot be seen from OST,” Cassar said.

“To this end we suggested a large grassy hill or a sandstone wall could do the job.

“Also, in the current planning proposal the original OST area was reduced by around two thirds and there was no guarantee that there would be jobs for actors; this concerned us greatly.

“Along with other members of BBOST, I met with the new owners a couple of months ago in their office in Sydney and expressed our views at length.

“It was a good meeting and we were all able to express our ideas freely.

“The owners were … open to a third party operating and managing the Old Sydney Town site, so we discussed options including inter-governmental support for operating OST.

“We will be in touch with the owners again soon to see if mutually beneficial ground can be reached in the hope that the next planning proposal can clearly show a new and improved Old Sydney Town as being the centrepiece of the proposal.”

Terry Collins

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