Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Damon Cronshaw

Public comment sought on manufactured home estate plans at Windella

The development site, bounded by River Road, Denton Close and New England Highway at Windella, near Maitland Airport. Picture by Google Maps

A manufactured home estate planned at Windella has struck opposition among residents who believe it violates planning laws.

Maitland City Council has called for public comment on the plan, which involves construction of a 282-lot estate.

The estate is planned to include a community clubhouse, swimming pool, lawn bowls green, pickleball courts and walking tracks.

Plans submitted to the council state that "the proposal is generally compliant" with relevant laws and plans.

Windella Residents Community Group spokesman Warren Baldacchino said "they're not allowed to build next to airports as far as I know".

"Also they can only develop this on a rural property if it's adjacent to an urban area."

Mr Baldacchino said the site was next to "acreages classed as large lot residential".

The development site, with Maitland Airport nearby to the right. Picture supplied

Chris Speek, of developer Mavid Group, said "we have considered the site setting and designed this with respect to existing neighbouring properties, including the adjoining Maitland Airport".

"This is a good quality product which is community focused and provides an opportunity for families to keep loved ones local," Mr Speek said.

The plan, submitted by SLR Consulting Australia, said the development was allowed "within the site's RU2 rural zoning" under the 2021 state planning policy for housing.

The council's zoning plan lists caravan parks as being permitted in the zone, but not manufactured home estates.

However, the state housing policy states that a manufactured home estate may be built on "any land" that allows a caravan park.

But, importantly, this excluded "rural" land that was "not adjacent to or adjoining land zoned for urban use".

The plans, however, state that the adjoining land "could be considered for urban uses".

The state policy stated further exclusions to such a development were land identified as a habitat corridor, airport/industry buffer area or land "containing significant remnant vegetation".

The 14-hectare development site was about "200 metres east" of "aerodrome-zoned land containing Maitland Airport".

Mr Baldacchino said there was a parcel of land between the airport and the development site, but "it's owned by the airport and used as a buffer zone".

He said the airport could seek to develop that site at some point.

Mr Baldacchino also raised traffic concerns.

"There are 282 units all with a car space. You're looking at another 400 people in Windella. It's going to be double the amount of cars," he said.

"I think there's only 400 houses in Windella now."

The plans stated that a traffic assessment found the River Road and New England Highway intersection was "capable of accommodating" extra traffic from the development.

The plans also said approval was "not specifically sought for a senior living development".

However, the estate would be "marketed to retirees under the banner of Windella Retirement Community".

"Manufactured home estates of this nature are becoming increasingly popular with the ageing population," the plans said.

"They provide numerous social and lifestyle benefits in a low-maintenance, affordable and secure setting."

Plans for "Windella Retirement Community" submitted to Maitland City Council. Picture supplied

The development would require 323 biodiversity offset credits for "removal of native vegetation and potential impacts on threatened species".

About 140 trees on the site would be retained, with 98 trees and "five stands of native vegetation" removed to "accommodate the development footprint".

"Currently one dwelling and several outbuildings are located on each lot," the plans said.

In a letter to affected residents, the council said it would "take your views into consideration" along with other matters it must consider when determining the application.

The council will accept public submissions on the plan until March 4.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.