Golf course housing showdown

The Kingswood Golf Course main entrance. 243203_02 Picture: GARY SISSONS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A public hearing has been set for a controversial plan to redevelop Kingswood Golf Course into a housing estate.

Infuriated locals have teed off at superannuation firm AustralianSuper, which bought the 54-hectare course in Dingley Village for $120 million in 2014.

The developer’s plans to rezone the fairways as well as gain a planning permit for 823 dwellings will be heard at a state planning advisory committee hearing.

Locals, including a Save Kingswood Group and 8000 objectors to City of Kingston, are earnestly resisting the plan to “destroy the park”.

The plans were also rejected by City of Kingston, and criticized by local MPs from both major political parties.

SKG president Kevin Poulter said the “micro housing, narrow streets and not enough parking is a recipe for a ghetto”.

“It makes a mockery of the statement from the Australian Super CEO and on their website that they consulted residents.”

Mr Poulter said the developers should have consulted residents and Kingston Council before buying what is regarded as the suburb’s “Central Park”.

The attractive “green, leafy, low-rise village atmosphere” couldn’t withstand a 20 per cent rise in population, he said.

The site’s grasses had been poisoned and its mature tree habitat lopped by the developer “under the guise of safety”, Mr Poulter claimed.

“They have pillaged the site for years, chainsawing trees including some that were clearly healthy.

“They then offered the mulch to residents, many of whom saw it as an ultimate insult.”

An AustralianSuper spokesperson did not comment but directed the Star Journal to its Dingley Village 3172 website.

The website refers to an “inclusive, attractive, high-quality residential development”, with 14 hectares of open space including a ‘central park’ and wetlands.

“When complete, its tree-lined streets and parks will have 10 per cent more trees.”

The webiste stated that Kingston Council approval was sought for any lopped or removed trees.

Each year, qualified arborists assessed which trees were a safety risk over the next 12 months.

The developers had started a replacement tree program of native species on the site.

The state planning advisory committee will present its findings to Planning Minister Richard Wynne, who will make the final decision.

Public submissions close on Friday 6 August.