Council shut gate on equestrian precinct

WITH the imminent approval of another 780 homes along and near Park Street, Henley Brook, the City of Swan has effectively shut the gate on future equestrian use for the Henley Brook equestrian/special rural zone.

In doing so, they have created a 500-acre white elephant wedged between Ellenbrook, Morgan Fields and Brabham.

The Henley Brook equestrian/special rural zone (Brooklands) is land east of Lord Street, south of Gnangara Road (not including Morgan Fields), north of Park Street and west of the Henley Brook Avenue alignment.

Currently, the minimum lot size allowed is 2ha and is zoned ‘Special Rural’ by the City of Swan.

The total area is some 500 acres, which is located outside the Swan Valley protection legislation boundaries.

The original purpose of the Henley Brook special rural zone (Brooklands) was to cater for residents with equestrian lifestyles.

The subdivision was designed on this basis with bridle paths leading to the Gnangara State Forest and Whiteman Park.

The original intent and philosophy of the Henley Brook special rural zone has been lost by encroaching urban development to the north at Morgan Fields and Ellenbrook and to the south at the Brabham urban growth corridor (20,000-plus people).

The future Perth-Darwin highway and rapid transit route alignment to the west together block horse access to Whiteman Park and to the east, Henley Brook Avenue will be another barrier.

Their streets have become ‘rat runs’ for motorists trying to avoid traffic congestion that surrounding urbanisation is generating on a daily basis.

It is now far too dangerous for horse riders, including children, and their mounts to safely negotiate local streets.

This area has now become an isolated island and a recipe for disaster.

The Brooklands structure plan and ‘special rural’ zoning restrictions put in place 30 years ago make it impossible for Henley Brook ‘special rural’ property owners to compensate against this intrusion.

Under the current ‘special rural’ zoning’ they are unable to subdivide their five-acre properties, build another home or even build a granny flat when the new planning legislation is implemented this year.

The Brooklands locality is fully truncated with scheme water mains, gas and underground power and therefore, the logical solution is to rezone this land to urban or ‘urban deferred’ in line with consistent planning practices for the overall area, which is fully endorsed by the majority of property owners and the Western Australian Planning Commission in principle.

At a time when rents have gone through the roof due to a shortage of affordable homes attributed to a major land shortage in WA, the chief executive at the City of Swan has stated that this area will not be rezoned.

The end result of this decision is that property owners will suffer a loss of lifestyle, reduced property values (properties are no longer attractive for their original intention) and a loss of income from horse agistment and other equestrian services that directly impacts their livelihood.

The City through their inaction over the past 10 years have taken everything and given absolutely nothing back. Without a doubt it is time for the Premier to intervene.

Murray Severn,

Henley Brook