A new school, 3500 new homes, recreational facilities and convenience stores.
Maitland's west is about to undergo yet another blockbuster residential development - this time at Anambah between Windella and Royal Newcastle Aero Club.
Maitland City Council discussed the Anambah Urban Release Area at a meeting this week after receiving news the site was on the radar of a State Government body formed to stimulate local economies through building development.
The State's Planning System Acceleration Program was formed to sustain economic recovery during the COVID Pandemic. A key part of the program involves improved processes for determining and finalising planning proposals, reducing time taken to finalise rezoning decisions by 33%.
NSW Planning intends to first clear the backlog of proposals that have remained under consideration for an extended period (four years).
It is now assisting council to finalise local proposals by December 31 and the Anambah proposal falls within the identified timeframe.
The almost 500 hectare site would include shops, sports fields, parks and a variety of building lot sizes. There is also provision for a school and a commercial precinct, waterways and bicycle paths.
Mayor Loretta Baker said the development is needed to support residential growth in our growing city.
"The economic flow on effects from residential development span beyond the construction industry itself to a wide variety of supporting and service industries," Cr Baker said.
"As we move away from the difficulties of COVID-19 these types of large scale and ongoing developments are vital for supporting our city into the future."
While the plan pleased most councillors on Tuesday night, there was one councillor who described the proposal as "urban sprawl at its worst."
Cr Don Ferris said he was against the development and said it was in the wrong part of the city.
""This is prime agricultural land - prime biophysical strategic agricultural land," Cr Ferris said. "The site is a long way from the rail corridor and appears to be urban sprawl at its worst.
"The office of Environment and heritage has real concerns about flood risk and we already have problems on the New England Highway in terms of traffic volume.
"We can't keep going down this path of urban sprawl - especially if it is away from public transport and another 3500 houses and it's only going to get worse. Maitland is turning into one big subdivision. We have to concentrate development round transport corridors and that means going up, not out," Cr Ferris said.
The Planning Department, Transport for NSW, council and the proponent have been involved in discussions to address traffic issues surrounding the New England Highway and western growth corridor.
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