A new planning strategy for Wentworthville

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The Wentworthville Centre Revitalisation Project is underway, as local business leaders are addressed by Chris Johnson, CEO, Urban Taskforce

The Wentworthville Business Community met on Monday 27 April to listen to Chris Johnson, CEO, Urban Taskforce, best known for his role as the NSW Government architect. Much of his talk focused on the need for more capacity to be built into the State Government’s Metro plan: how this capacity can be accommodated along the transport corridors; and what this may mean for future planning of the Wentworthville Centre with its proximity to rail transport.

Holroyd Council has initiated the Wentworthville Centre Revitalisation Project, which aims to develop and implement a new planning strategy for the Wentworthville Town Centre.

In introducing Chris Johnson, Kerry Keogh, ex General Manager of Strathfield Council, said ‘the business community and industry stakeholders welcome the opportunity to plan the Centre for our future community.”

“The business community recognises that we operate in a diverse community and we expect that diversity to increase in the future. Therefore understanding our future community is crucial to the success of any revitalisation.”

“The project is opportune in that the Town Centre was run down with many vacancies.”

“Our tasks include working with Council to ensure any new plan encourages the major stakeholders to invest in our Centre for the long term and that Council itself commit to enhancing the services and facilities for the Centre.”

A spokesperson for the Wentworthville Mall, Mr Russel Strahle, said “We are talking about what Wentworthville needs to look like to service the community in 20 years time. That is a challenging task. That’s why we want to listen to experts like Chris Johnson.”

“We have all the elements that can make Wentworthville a great place to live and work. We have good transport here now and being planned, a light rail likely to come to Westmead and a large health and education precinct on our doorstep.”

“Our neighbour city, Parramatta, is going to be the next Sydney CBD. Our task is similar to how planners thought 20 years ago when they were planning, say, Chatswood with the Sydney CBD not far away.”

“The owners of the Mall are committed to Wentworthville for the long term and will invest in redeveloping the mall in the opportunity presents itself.”

“We have spoken to our major retailer, IGA, and the many of the smaller retail operators and they are supportive for a redevelopment and are willing to close their doors for the period of reconstruction. That is not an easy decision but they realise the importance of continuing to present a quality product.”

A spokesperson for the small retailers, Jennifer Zheng, said ‘the small retailers are doing it very tough. Many have closed their doors or requesting reduction on rents.”

“Some shops have been vacant for over two years. It is sad that local people lose their jobs.”

“ I am here today to particularly to listen to how we can create jobs and how we can get people to live in the town centre to liven it up. People presence also creates safety, which is important if we want people to visit and shop at our centre.”

This is the first of two business forums taking place regarding the future revitalisation of the Wentworthville town centre and CBD. A second business forum will be held on Thursday 7 May, 2015 at Wenty Leagues Club, from 12pm-1:30pm, where Mr David Borger, Director, Western Sydney – Sydney Business Chamber will be a guest speaker, and the business community can give their views.

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