New road plan bulldozes through family homes

29/12/2018 Posted by admin

Fighting on: Adam Mitchell, Ethan, Alyssa and Aiden Bennett, and Heather Smith outside the two homes now in the path of the road corridor.Three generations of the one family are facing the prospect of losing the homes they haven’t even finished building under the State Government’s Bells Line of Road –Castlereagh Connection proposal.

TheBells Line of Roadis a 59-kilometre arterial road that providing an alternative crossing of theBlue Mountains, west of Sydney.

Adam Mitchellwas granted permission to build two houses –one for him and his wife, the other for daughter Alyssa Bennett and her family – on 10 acres at scenic Baileys Lane, Kurrajong Hills, last November.

The frames are up, the windows are in and the family was looking forward to moving into their homes later this year.

But the situation changed drastically on March 26 when plans for the new Bells Line of Road –Castlereagh Connection were announced, showing the road passing directly through both houses.

“[The road] goes straight through the house. They didn’t miss it, they got it all,” Mr Mitchell said.“We had our solicitor do all the homework, there were no existing rights, nothing on the land, we paid extra for that.

“[This road corridor]was the last thing I was expecting. If someone had mentioned it to us we would have thought about what we were going to do [because] we were looking at nine other properties.”

It has left Ms Bennett devastated.

“The plan was one day when [my parents] are older, they don’t have to go to a nursing home, we can still care for them and my kids will eventually live next door in the house Nana and Pop used to live in,” she explained.

The majority of homes on Baileys Lane –and some nearby properties in the surrounding hills – look set to suffer a similar fate under the proposal.

It has lead to angry residents putting “No Perrottet” signs on their property’s gates in reference to Hawkesbury MP Dominic Perrottet, and vowing to fight the proposal.

“The road goes through our place and up to the neighbour’s place,” said Willow Glen Road resident Garry Watterson. “They are going to take the house I drew when I was 18, the house that I built …and just put a road through it.”

Angry: Residents of Bailey’s Lane, Kurrajong Hills, affected by the proposed Bells Line of Road – Castlereagh Connection plan. Picture: Geoff Jones.

Apart from the house -which contains unique elements such as convict bricks and parts of the old Manly wharf -the Wattersons have previously received government grants to preserve the flora and fauna on their property.

“The creek runs through our property and there are platypus in the creek and two species of plants they can’t identify,” Mr Watterson said.

“We worked with local Landcare, we had students from the uni come out to clean out the lantana. We had six to eight people a day for nearly eight weeks from the Green Army helping us to maintain it, which they are now going to put a road through.”

Chris Keen, another Baileys Lane resident, said he was currently considering whether to bother building the house he gained approval for just two days before the government’s announcement.

“It’s all psychological. I can’t build a house and put a garden in when I know people are just going to hit it with a bulldozer,” he said.

A public meeting on the proposal has been organised for May 2 inside the Phillip Charley Pavillion at Hawkesbury showground from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Lobby group Hawkesbury BLOR Corridor Action Group (BLORCAG) stated Transport for NSW representatives would be in attendance, and Mr Perrottet would also be invited.

Hawkesbury Gazette

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