What This Is About
There is a development proposal before council for number 26 Old Bathurst Road adjacent to the historic Rockcorry cottages.
The proposed building is 500 sq metres, with a 50 metre bushfire clearance zone encircling it. It will be 47 metres in length, and 8 metres in height. The clearance zone is one quarter of the block size, and will destroy the habitat of native animals including the Glossy Black Cockatoos and will damage the historic road remains. It will also create a visual eyesore which will be visible for kilometres given its placement on the top of the hill.
This proposal raises important issues, including:
- Conservation (.pdf file)
- History (.pdf file)
- Cultural and aboriginal heritage values (.pdf file)
For copyright reasons current plans cannot be included on this site. You can view the plans here.
To access enter DA Application # X/1033/2010.
- Peter Cork 2010 26 OBR objection (.pdf file)
- Peter Cork 2010 26 OBR objection pic set (.pdf file)
- Peter Cork OBR 26 submission (.pdf file)
Main Points About This Proposal
The project is flawed and totally un-acceptable from a heritage, environmental, bushfire and local amenity perspectives. It should be rejected.
Whilst not as visually intrusive as previously proposed (ie, no tower), it still sits at the north-east corner of that land when more appropriate options are available that have much less impact (outlined at the end).
- The proposal un-necessarily maximises the extent of driveway from Old Bathurst Road to the house, with un-acceptable effect on vegetation and local amenity, plus the difficulty of getting construction and emergency vehicles to the building.
- We are still not convinced that the proposed house will not be visible from adjacent heritage items (Rockcorry Cottages) and/or the Highway and railway (ie. public places). Evidence should be required (ie. site plans that show relative heights and locations of all nearby heritage items, plus railway, highway and Bulls Camp.
- Our concern is heightened because even if the proposed house is established to be completely below the skyline, the proposed access road cuts across and around the sandstone knoll directly behind Rockcorry 1 – of necessity removing all trees and vegetation – and thereby totally and permanently altering the visual curtilage of the last 130 years. That is, the house and landscape connection of both Rockcorry Cottages from these public places (highway, railway, Bulls Camp) will be permanently altered for this proposal. This should not be permitted for State Heritage listed items.
- Requiring extra landscaping to ameliorate this likely visual scar is also not acceptable as it’s likely to fail, even if it’s able to be established in such harsh growing conditions (little soil, solid rock shelving, no moisture retention, blasted by the predominant westerly winds).
- Creating the proposed “all weather” driveway along the original Cox’s Road (to meet LEP 91 requirements) is totally un-acceptable for every heritage reason (Cox’s Road also having primary State Heritage listing, plus surely of national significance.). What upgrade is proposed/required to meet this ‘standard’ is not given – but any ‘upgrade’ should be deemed completely un-acceptable for heritage reasons. As Cox’s road was initially a clearing, little ‘hard’ evidence of the first road across the Mountains remains except for this and maybe a few other locations. Its actually several tracks around the knoll (not just the obvious one referred to in the application). The existing rough track visibly hewn out of rock with gutters will lose all cultural significance if allowed/required to be changed.
- Road standards for construction and emergency vehicles cannot be met without altering Cox’s Road un-acceptably anyway. Caterpillar-track vehicles for earth-moving (and too much is required for this proposal), passing bay(s) widened and over-hanging trees removed, heavy brick and steel delivery trucks, concrete truck spillage, levelling of inclined (original) rock outcrops – all will impact on Cox’s Road, un-acceptably.
- The extent of removal of vegetation generally needs to be more fully considered than as proposed within the Application. Onsite, by the time the access road is added to the Principal Development Area plus effluent disposal and inner and outer Asset Protection Zones, the proposed house will likely become highly visible from the south and east as so much native vegetation will be removed and presumably a ‘green patch’ will be created around the disposal field.
- Locating the house at the north-east corner is not sensible from a bushfire perspective. It’s nearest the steepest land, with maximum difficulty for safe access/egress in a bushfire emergency (ie. using the proposed access west towards the wind and flames over and around the knoll). We see that it’s suggested as being ‘Flame Zone’ but has no supporting specialist information, has timber decking, plastic rooflights and other unsuitable construction that cannot possibly be good in a bushfire.
We therefore suggest the proposal for No 26 Old Bathurst Road Woodford (X/1033/2010) as submitted is unacceptable – and should be refused – for substantial grounds including heritage impacts, vegetation impacts, bushfire risk and local amenity.
Alternative development option
Nevertheless, recognising that the land has been zoned to permit a house, we suggest that if Council is minded to approve something, it could be re-located more centrally to the eastern side of the lot. This would shield it visually from the heritage items plus protected from winds and bushfire plus not require access or changes to Cox’s Road. It would require access cutting through the heathland, but we are strongly of the opinion that this is of lesser consequence overall than what has been proposed (which would also effect the heathland, plus more). Such a relocation would have multiple advantages:
- cheaper and easier to build,
- the house can keep it’s eastern views,
- more direct and easier vehicular access off the end of Railway Parade and along the contours,
- less problem for construction and emergency vehicles,
- the house is reached first, with the effluent disposal field beyond, reducing the bushfire risk.
To object to this desecration of Woodford e-mail or write to Gary Chalmers,
Environmental and Customer Services Group,
Blue Mountains City Council
Locked Bag 1005
Katoomba, NSW 2780
quoting Building Application No. X/1033/2010 - No. 26 Old Bathurst Road, Woodford.
DEADLINE FOR OBJECTIONS/SUBMISSIONS: 15 December 2010
Blue Mountains Council Local Environment Plan (LEP) information
Selected excerpts from: Survey and Assessment of Cox's (1814) Road Between Woodford Railway Station and Linden Railway Station March-October 1994. William N Evans J.P. Engineering Surveyor Roads and Traffic Authority N.S.W. Available at Mitchell Library: Call No.: Q994.45/48