What site does this Planning Proposal refer to?

    The site is legally described as Lot 86 DP 752054 at 117 Darkes Forest Road, Darkes Forest. It is 41.4 hectares. Darkes Forest Road bisects the parcel of land into two portions. The northern portion contains the former mine buildings and infrastructure. The southern side portion contains an occupied dwelling house.

    What is the Proposal?

    The revised draft Planning Proposal proposes to:

    a)  Amend Schedule 1 Additional Permitted Uses of Wollongong Local Environmental Plan to include artisan food and drink industry on the northern part of the property.

    b)  Rezone parts of Lot 86 DP 752054 (the areas surrounding the existing dwelling and existing mine-related infrastructure) from E2 Environmental Conservation to E3 Environmental Management to better reflect the current and proposed future land uses (including bed and breakfast accommodation).

     The E2 Environmental Conservation Zone will be retained over Endangered Ecological Communities (EECs) and other ecologically sensitive vegetation to ensure the highest level of protection. 

    Currently, there are no height restrictions that apply to the subject land, given the limited amount of development permitted in an E2 zone. A proposed height restriction of 9m covers the areas proposed to be rezoned to E3 Environmental Management.

    The proposal will not change the 40ha minimum lot size for subdivision applying to the subject land.

    Why has this Proposal been amended?

    The original Planning Proposal submitted (in 2016) also sought a two lot subdivision of lot 86 DP 752054, along the Darkes Forest Road alignment. This is not supported by Sydney Water and is no longer part of the Planning Proposal.

    The amount of land to be rezoned in the northern part of the site has increased from that endorsed by Council in 2017. This has resulted from additional investigation into the already disturbed areas of the site.  

    If the Planning Proposal is approved what will the site be used for?

    The subject site has remained vacant since 1991, when the mining operation ceased.  The Planning Proposal aims to facilitate the adaptive re-use of the former Darkes Forest Mine site and buildings. Currently, the existing zoning limitations do not allow for any development scenarios on this site.

    The applicant would like to utilise the existing infrastructure of the former Darkes Forest Mine to relocate the production of cider in a centralised location, 1.3km from nearby Glenbernie Orchard. The cider production, including crushing, fermenting and bottling, is currently performed off site at three separate facilities. The Proposal will create local jobs, reduce inefficient transport costs and provide tourism opportunities through the development of factory tours, cooking school and potential for bed and breakfast accommodation. If the Planning Proposal is supported, these uses will need to seek development approval, through the development application process, before works commence.

    What environmental impact reports/studies have been completed?

    In support of this Planning Proposal, the following studies have been completed:

    The reports are available to view, with the exception of the Aboriginal Heritage Assessment which is not publicly available.