Leppington Sydney’s newest suburb to be home for 30,000

Welcome to Sydney’s newest suburb.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes announced on Wednesday plans to rezone enough land for nearly 30,000 new residents in Leppington, an area about 50 kilometres south-west of Sydney’s central business district.

The area is currently sparsely populated and home to about 2000 people and semi-rural properties.

But Mr Stokes said it was not fair to characterise the new land release as urban sprawl and   that the suburb  would be built around a range of supporting new infrastructure.

“The fields around me will be transformed into new homes, new cycleways, new parks, a new primary school and a new independent K to 12 school,” he said.

Mr Stokes said the new homes would be   a mix of low density apartments, freestanding homes  and especially terrace-style houses more  like Sydney’s inner-suburbs.

“We can see that [classic Surry Hills terrace style of home] being expanded to new areas of Sydney,” he said. “Terrace houses … are robust and resilient [and cut] down on land costs.”

The government intends to release land in   five stages, beginning with 2500 homes that will begin to be constructed in about two years.  A further 6500 will be released in four stages to follow.

Work on supporting infrastructure begins next year.

Leppington stands squarely in Sydney’s “south-west growth centre”, an area long targeted by the state government for future growth. More than 300,000 new residents are expected to move into the region in the future.

But the area has grown much less quickly than the other part of Sydney targeted for rapid population expansion,   the north-west, despite the opening of the $1.8 billion South West Rail Link earlier this year.

The land adjacent to the new rail line has not developed as soon as expected, and Mr Stokes’ announcement on Tuesday is an early effort to coordinate development along the railway line.

It takes a little less than one hour to reach the suburb by train from Central or Parramatta stations in the afternoon peak.

“The great thing about Leppington is that it’s on a bit of heavy infrastructure […] the government seems to have got that right,” said Dr Bill Randolph the director of the   City Futures Research Centre at UNSW. “But the key link is jobs and whether jobs can be pulled outwards [toward the new suburb]. The effect of [a new airport at Badgerys Creek, about 15 kilometres west] could be critical.”

But some residents say their future remains clouded as the government continues to deliberate over the path of a future extension for the railway line.

The government is finalising plans to reserve a stretch of land that would be used for a future rail extension from Leppington to Bringelly and Narellan, but the government has put no time frame on the construction of that extension.

About 90 homes lie in the path of a draft future extension released in June,  but the state government says it has not yet made any final decisions on the path of the extension.

Source: smh.com.au