Whitebridge Community Alliance petition against housing development strikes chord with locals

MORE than half of the Whitebridge adult population have signed a petition opposing a $22 million housing development in the suburb's main street, according to the community's alliance organiser.

In April, a 23,000-square-metre block of land, formerly owned by the NSW Roads and Maritime Services, was sold to Simhill Living after plans were abandoned for a bypass east of Charlestown.

The area is bordered by Dudley Road, Lonus Avenue and Kopa Street.

An application for an 87-lot, medium-density housing development was made to Lake Macquarie Council in November and was rejected by councillors 8 to 2.

A council report, public submissions and the development application are expected to go before the the NSW Joint Regional Planning Panel in April.

In response to the development's size, concerned community members formed the Whitebridge Community Alliance.

The group has about 20 members and has started a petition against the development in its current form.

In the past three weeks, more than 900 signatures have been collected, online and in person.

Whitebridge Community Alliance organiser Phillipa Parsons said the group would like to see the size of the development halved.

She said the group's main concerns were increased density, inconsistency with Whitebridge's village feel and a lack of consideration for the environment.

"There's no green space within the footprint of this development, nowhere to kick a ball, no communal area," she said.

"Every available space is taken up with bricks and mortar. It's a gross overdevelopment."

However, Simhill Living co-developer Hilton Grugeon, said the company had not broken any rules.

"The development application is totally in accordance with the council's rules and regulations," Mr Grugeon said.

The petition will be presented to Lake Macquarie City Council on February 12.

■ To sign the petition, go to www.change.org.

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