Resident Power: A Catalyst in Negotiating Change

As a Hornsby Shire Council Councillor representing residents in C Ward (Cherrybrook, Beecroft, Cheltenham and North Epping) I always appreciate being advised of any residential concerns and issues within my Ward so that I may seek advice or make a request to Council to take appropriate action to rectify or provide a solution.

This sounds like a simple task. However, there are many challenges, pressures and constraints for Council when dealing with multiple government and services who have different interests and policy strategies. In the following examples, the strength of a combined resident voice became the catalyst for successfully negotiating and shaping change.

My first example shows the impact of 16 Cherrybrook residents working together to effect change. These residents consistently raised concerns and requested action due to their difficulties in using the 200 metre unpaved grass path on New Line Road, Cherrybrook, between Franklin Road and the County Drive intersection (see photo).

The required upgrades of New Line Road intersections and footpaths have long been identified by Hornsby Council. So, what is stopping Council from providing this much needed paved footpath?

New Line Road is a State Road under the jurisdiction of Transport for NSW who advised Council, in November 2023, that their New Line Road project is deferred for another 2 years. Therefore, due to this State Government’s decision-making authority, Council cannot proceed with additional footway works until a safe crossing of New Line Road has been provided by State Government.

In December, 2023, at the Council General meeting, a representative of the Cherrybrook resident group spoke in support of my motion for the Council to investigate the construction of a paved footpath, between County Drive and Franklin Road, Cherrybrook.

My motion also called for the Council to report on the outcomes of the investigation and their discussion with Transport for NSW, for consideration of inclusion in Council’s Delivery Program/ Operational Plan 2024/25. The motion was accepted unanimously.

The second example relates to resident concerns regarding lack of Beecroft parking spaces. This has also been a concern for Council. In August, 2018, the Hornsby Shire Car Parking Management Study commenced to determine options for managing car parking in the Shire and to develop a strategy to meet the needs of local residents, businesses, visitors and commuters.

Late last year I discussed Beecroft Shopping precinct parking options with representatives from the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust (BCCT). Buoyed by their support, I requested Council to consider Beecroft parking options, particularly the operation of the taxi rank and potential areas for ‘kiss and drop.’

The BCCT also made similar representations to Council with a request this problem be seriously considered. Making and agreeing to such a decision is not easy when negotiating with various powers, constraints, and interests of several authorities, including the Taxi Council, Transport for NSW and various government services, who must all consider impacts of a taxi zone change.

Strength in numbers is a winning strategy. My representations on behalf of Beecroft business owners and residents, with the strong support of the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust, led to a Council proposal to change the existing ‘Taxi Zone’ in Hannah Street to ‘No Parking- Taxis Excepted.’

This signage change will have no impact on use of the zone by taxis but will enable all drivers to pick up and drop off passengers in this prime area. Council conducted an authorised public consultation and notification was sent to all affected parties. The proposal was exhibited on the Council website in December, 2023 and submissions were received. It is hoped the proposal for the existing ‘Taxi Zone’ in Hannah Street to be replaced with ‘No Parking-Taxis Excepted’ is accepted.

Note: ‘No Parking’ signs do allow for setting down and pick up of passengers. For more information as to locations near Beecroft station see the website: venues/traffic/parking/can-i-drop-off-a-passenger-in-a-no-stopping-zone2

If you have any concerns or issues where I may assist, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]

Cllr Dr Verity Greenwood
Hornsby Shire Council