Huntlee spends $1000’s in advertising ahead of Court Case

Huntlee push

18 Oct, 2011 09:57 AM
THE company behind a massive housing subdivision, on the Singleton and Cessnock shire boundaries, has begun an advertising campaign in the lead up to a crucial court case.LWP Property Group has spent thousands of dollars on full page advertisements in at least four Hunter Valley newspapers extolling the “sustainable” virtues of “Huntlee New Town”, near Branxton.The move coincides with a campaign by a group of businessmen calling themselves Friends of Huntlee.

The group is seeking signatures for a petition supporting Huntlee which will be handed to New South Wales Planning Minister Brad Hazzard before a Court of Appeal case on November 4.

A copy of the petition is expected to be presented in court as a reflection of community sentiment.

The development company officials have appealed against a Land and Environment Court decision three months ago, that for the second time in as many years overturned state government approval for Huntlee.

The Sweetwater Action Group launched the initial environment court action and will oppose LWP’s appeal.

Huntlee’s approval was overturned because former planning minister Tony Kelly had not properly considered the need for remediation work or the Huntlee site’s suitability for use once rezoned, plus a land offset deal was not enforceable.

Sweetwater spokesman James Ryan said the company’s advertising and the pro-Huntlee petition could give a misleading impression as the subdivision was actually the worst type of urban sprawl possible and the majority of people in the Branxton, Greta and North Rothbury community opposed the development.

LWP’s advertising says the $1.2billion project represents a sustainable future that will deliver a diverse range of housing, secondary and tertiary education opportunities as well as retail, commercial, medical and recreational facilities, including a 2.5 hectare lake.

Huntlee will include up to 7500 homes, create 3000 new permanent jobs, improved sewer and wastewater treatment, a $6million cleanup of Black Creek and the old Ayrefield colliery, protection of the endangered Persoonia Pauciflora plant plus 5785 hectares of conservation land will be handed to the state government, the advertisements say.

LWP managing director Danny Murphy said the campaign aimed to show his company was committed to bringing the development to fruition.

“There is a shortage of housing, essential services, schools, major shopping centres and a need for local employment and that’s what Huntlee will bring to the area,” Mr Murphy said.

“The developemt is adjacent to the new Hunter expressway and we will be subsidising bus services to the key areas of Maitland, Cessnock and Singleton.

“There is an overall vision for Huntlee, rather than the usual ad hoc development.”

Friends of Huntlee spokesman Mick Starkey said his group was formed to present a positive message about Huntlee.

“Just look at the benefits it will bring, infrastructure, health, schools, good roads and our kids won’t have to leave the area for education or jobs,” Mr Starkey said.

“It’s planned development, not just tacking onto what’s already there and as far as I can see for every person against it there are five for it.

“We have an on-line petition and petitions at some businesses, like our Branxton hotel, and so far about 250 people have signed both the on-line one and the one in businesses.”

Mr Ryan said: “This development may be good for businesses like Mr Starkey’s hotel but in fact it’s urban sprawl that will wipeout bushland and several ecological comunities and force the new residents to use private vehicles because public transport hasn’t even been identified as a serious issue by the developer.

“There are no plans to upgrade passenger rail services and there’s no mechanism in the approval process for public transport such as bus services.

“Huntlee simply doesn’t make sense socially or environmentally.”

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