Property owners in Frenchs Forest have been promised a development green light by the end of the year,
Planning minister Rob Stokes said this week that the suburb’s redevelopment was a priority and the town centre precinct will be given the formal go-ahead by the end of the year.
The news is being met warily by locals who have seen several deadlines pass with no action but it is also a sign that at last people can buy and sell in Frenchs Forest with greater confidence.
Ian and Janine Prior’s street was one of the first targeted by developers when plans to redevelop Frenchs Forest were first announced in 2014.
The couple was promised more than $3 million for their original family home bordering the suburb’s high school.
But five years later there is still no gazettal of plan, the developers have withdrawn and the Priors are resigned to the fact they won’t see a rezoning windfall after all. But whoever buys their property almost certainly will.
They are selling a six-bedroom house on 708sqm of land which opens onto the Forest High School playing fields – the proposed new town centre for Frenchs Forest. Their home falls within the medium density zone with a proposed height level of 21m.
The couple, who have lived in the home since it was built in 1962, are philosophical about selling.
“We will have to sell at the market value,” said Mr Prior.
“It may be that a developer will pay us and put the deeds away for ten years…but our property at the moment is only worth the market value,” he said.
Their two-storey well maintained house at 18 Holland Cres is for sale by expressions of interest.
There are many people in Frenchs Forest who thought they had won lotto when the redevelopment plan for the suburb was announced in 2014. But rezoning deadlines have passed, road building timetables have blown out and there is still no gazettal of the Frenchs Forest precinct structure plan.
Instead the NSW government decided to redevelop Frenchs Forest in stages, first the town centre which is the current site of Forest High School, then phase two which has a ten year timeline and then phase three which has a ten year plus timeline. The overall plan is to create more than 5000 new dwellings and 2300 new jobs, more once the Beaches link tunnel becomes a reality.
However NSW planning minister Rob Stokes said this week that the green light for the first phase of the Frenchs Forest redevelopment should be given by the end of the year.
Real estate agent Stuart Bath, of Skyline Real Estate, said there was an option on a Holland Cres property at $3,250,000 which probably shows the value they would have paid if the zoning was approved now. Eight houses away from the Priors, on the corner of Holland Cres and Rabbett St a house sold for $1.8 million last August.
Mr Bath said the rezoning delay has been hard on the community which has been in limbo.
“All these expectations were raised but at this stage the plan is just a proposal, there is no certainty,” he said.
“I think it is because Warringah Rd is a year behind schedule and they don’t want development applications coming in from developers until the road are completed,” he said.
“We just need a statement from the NSW government so at least we know where we stand,” he said.
The Priors home is one of three properties in the road for sale.
Mr Bath said he was happy to hear phase one will be gazetted by the end of the year, as this will bring an end to the years of turmoil the local owners have endured.
“Our only little concern is that we’ve heard this guarantee about every six months for the past few years” he said.
“We live in hope that Mr Stokes will actually follow through with this promise and the complete zoning plan is gazetted before the year is out,” he said.
Megan MacKay, of Ray White Frenchs Forest, is marketing two other longheld properties.
“It is our observation that many residents in the immediate vicinity have had their lives disrupted for several years while waiting for resolution of the announced planning decisions.
The properties in Holland Cres represent a fabulous opportunity for a buyer to acquire as currently zoned R2 land with the possibility of seeing the properties rezoned to R3 zoning,” she said.