Westleigh Park

New recreational facility in jeopardy as State Government reneges on commitment

Hornsby Shire Council has been left enraged after State Government funding for a much-needed recreational precinct, incorporating new sports facilities, has been taken back even though work on the Westleigh Park redevelopment project has been underway for a number of years.

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April 2024 – Project update

Westleigh Park, a 36-hectare parcel of land at 62 Quarter Sessions Road, Westleigh was purchased by Council in 2016 to assist with addressing the increasing demands for active recreation within the Shire.

Read more about the project history and status

Development Application lodged

On 13 September 2023 Council resolved to provide owner's consent for the lodgement of a Development Application (DA) for Westleigh Park.

The application has now been lodged. View the application, (DA/975/2023 - 62 Quarter Sessions Road Westleigh) and associated documents.

Master Plan and Plan of Management adopted at Council

Following the exhibition of the draft revised Master Plan and draft Plan of Management between 13 march and 11 April 2023, the documents were adopted by Council at a meeting on 14 June 2023. See the Project Documentation for the adopted Plans.

2023 Draft Plan of Management and revised Draft Master Plan

Purchased from Sydney Water in 2016, the 36-hectare Westleigh Park will play a key role in recreational provision for the district including a diverse range of provisions for formal sports, passive recreation (e.g. picnics, walking, playground), mountain biking and ancillary facilities (including internal roads, carparks, amenities buildings, shared paths and water management).

At its 8 March 2023 Council Meeting, Council endorsed a revised draft Master Plan for Westleigh Park to be published for comment as part of the exhibition of the draft Plan of Management (read the Business Papers and Minutes).

The revised draft Master Plan seeks to provide a conceptual framework for ongoing planning on the site.

The draft Plan of Management establishes an appropriate character and scale for the development and management for Westleigh Park. It will enable the construction of new open space facilities at Westleigh Park to commence and will help identify a program of development and ongoing maintenance works.

In accordance with Section 47G of the Local Government Act (1993), a Public Hearing for the draft Plan of Management was held at the Hornsby RSL on 4 April 2023. View the Public Hearing Report.

Visit Your Say Hornsby for more information on the community engagement for the draft Plan of Management and revised draft Master Plan for Westleigh Park.

Community Engagement on the draft Westleigh Park Master Plan in 2021 identified significant competing interests between key stakeholders of the park, the local mountain biking community and environment groups.

In response, Council adopted a position to work with the stakeholders to deliver a network that caters for beginner and intermediate riders while noting the need to protect high value biodiversity on site. In order to better understand the range of stakeholder views, we hosted seven workshops between March and June 2022 with key stakeholders including the mountain biking groups and environmental conservation groups. These sessions aimed to reach agreement on a proposed network of mountain bike trails for Westleigh Park.

The first four workshops were designed to identify and understand what we have in common and where differences lay within the community in terms of values, priorities and concerns for Westleigh Park. The activities at these workshops sought to lay the groundwork for a constructive co-design process based on these shared values and principles.

The final three co-design workshops were focused on working through the details of the ecological issues and trail design requirements. Several agreed points came out of the co-design workshops, including that all parties valued and cared for the natural environment at Westleigh Park and were seeking good outcomes for the Westleigh community and the surrounding area. However, there were still differences relating to the presence of mountain bike trails in the sensitive ecological areas of the park.

Following the enagement, we worked with consultant ecologists to undertake further flora and fauna surveys on the site to inform further refinements for any proposed trails on site.

Information webinar on 23 March 2022 with Prof. Catherine Pickering (Griffith University), Phil Downy (SNORC) and Steve Fedorow (Hornsby Shire Council).

Fact Sheet – Westleigh Park Mountain Bike Trails

Westleigh Park playground concept

As Hornsby Shire’s population grows, so too does the need for a wide variety of open and green spaces. To cater for this long-term demand, Council developed a draft master plan for a new regional sized park at Westleigh.

The draft Master Plan was exhibited for a total of eight weeks from 21 April to 16 June 2021. During this time, we received 293 written submissions, held six stakeholder meetings which were attended by approximately 69 people and engaged with 785 people at three swing bys.

There were also two surveys prepared as part of the community consultation. A total of 1,878 responses were received from Elton’s opt-in, online survey and a representative, two stage phone/online survey by Micromex was completed by over 300 participants.

The main themes that emerged through the various channels during the engagement period included:

  • mountain bike trails
  • bushland biodiversity
  • sports platforms
  • traffic concerns and impacts
  • link between Hornsby and Westleigh Parks
  • community facilities
  • indigenous history.

View the Engagement Outcomes Report – Elton Consulting July 2021 (PDF 6.3MB)

View Micromex’s phone survey results (PDF 3.5MB)

Following community engagement, the draft Master Plan was presented to a General Meeting on 14 July 2021. Councillors resolved to defer adopting the master plan to allow more time for staff to consult with the stakeholder groups to find solutions to the issues raised in the business paper.

You can read the draft Master Plan here:

Draft Master Plan

What is proposed for Westleigh Park?

Westleigh Park will not be a single-purpose facility – rather, it will offer a range of active and passive recreation opportunities to cater for the diverse needs of the community. Examples may include, but are not limited to:

  • community-based sport
  • opportunities for school and club athletics
  • cycling and mountain biking
  • informal exercising and walking
  • children’s playground
  • bushwalking, and
  • passive recreation such as picnic areas.

The current proposal is for three sports facility platforms that have been designed to work within the constraints of the existing bushland vegetation and the future provision of improved road access.

Athletics Track and Support Facilities

To the north in the narrowest section of the previously cleared lands, a platform is proposed which can support a senior competition athletics track and internal field area. Surrounding grassed areas are proposed to accommodate field events to supplement the centre grassed field.

Central Multi-purpose Sportsfield Platform

A multipurpose field platform is proposed in the centre of the site. The available space through this area could accommodate a turf surface or alternatively, a synthetic surface to meet demand. This field is intended for multiple sports and activities.

Southern Multi-purpose Natural Turf Sportsfield Platform

The south of the site provides the widest area where a full senior size playing field platform can be accommodated, taking into consideration the protection of the adjoining bushland. The draft master plan illustrates a multipurpose playing field platform which accommodates either two (2) full competition size football fields or a full-size AFL field, with a full-size cricket ground during summer.

Along with organised sports, the park could also cater for unstructured recreation such as cycling, mountain biking, dog walking and bushwalking. It is proposed that the new park will be linked to Ruddock Park with improved shared pathways, to Berowra Valley National Park, adjoining bushland and Hornsby Park by existing and improved connections.

Background Information

In June 2016, Council purchased 36 hectares of land in Westleigh from Sydney Water.

Located along the eastern side of Quarter Sessions Rd, the land had been earmarked by Sydney Water for housing, however Council’s plans were to provide for a range of recreational facilities and for the conservation of bushland.

Why did Council buy the land?

Council purchased the land in order to provide additional sportsgrounds in the future. Although formal sportsgrounds won’t be ready for some years, owning the land provides an exciting opportunity for Council to give residents what they're asking for. See Council’s Sportsground Strategy which highlights the demand for this site to be developed for sports. These new facilities will work towards addressing the current shortfall of sportsgrounds within the Shire.

The site will also be able to provide spaces for passive recreation, such as walking and picnics and unstructured recreation such as mountain bike trails.

What is there at the moment?

Currently about a third of the land is cleared, and this is surrounded by bushland which covers the remaining two thirds.

The site is bounded to the north by Dog Pound Creek bushland (BioBanking site), to the east by Waitara Creek bushland and to the west by Berowra Valley National Park. The site itself is home to several threatened species and five vegetation communities, including;

  • Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest (Critically Endangered Ecological Community)
  • Duffy’s Forest (Endangered Ecological Community)
  • Scribbly Gum Open Woodland
  • Bloodwood Scribbly Gum Woodland
  • Peppermint – Angophora Forest

Council will work closely with experts to protect and enhance the significant environmental features of the site.

Unsanctioned mountain biking and walking trails have been established on the site for some time and Council has identified an alternative configuration to reduce the impact on sensitive vegetation.

Mountain Bike Trails and Bushwalking Tracks

Currently there are unsanctioned mountain bike tracks on site. Council’s is working with the community, ecologists, and design specialists to identify alternative alignments that avoid and minimise impacts on high value biodiversity.

Caution. Dumped asbestos has been found at the Westleigh site. It is in bonded form, which means there is little risk to people or animals but it still should be treated with caution.
  • Hornsby Westleigh Connections (PDF 8.4MB)
  • Improved Access for Traffic and Car Parking

    As part of the draft Master Plan, the following access improvements have been proposed:

    • junction upgrades on Quarter Sessions Road
    • new access road (extension of Sefton Road to Quarter Sessions Road)
    • 350 car parking spaces and
    • extended bike and pedestrian access pathways to reduce the dependency on vehicle access.

    The proposed traffic and parking plans allow for better management than currently exists. Having two points of entry and exit will spread the peak traffic flow and provide greater public safety. In parallel, intersection upgrades at Duffy Avenue / Chilvers Road / Sefton Road and at Sefton Road / Chilvers Road are also being planned.