Douglas Park cemetery approval the final nail in long campaign

Not wanted: Paul Grierson has been leading the community to rally against the $20 million cemetery. Picture: Simon Bennett
Not wanted: Paul Grierson has been leading the community to rally against the $20 million cemetery. Picture: Simon Bennett

A $20 million cemetery will be built in Douglas Park despite a lengthy community campaign against the development.

The Wollondilly Shire Local Planning Panel approved the concept development plans for the graveyard last week.

Developers Benima Pty Ltd will now be able to start work at the 430-490 Douglas Park Drive site to create 20,000 burial plots and associated work.

Douglas park resident Paul Grierson said he was "livid" at the panel's decision.

"I am gobsmacked - and I am actually devastated," he said.

"I really want to know who represents us as residents and Wollondilly as a district.

"Wollondilly is all about rural living but now they've plonked a $20 million business in my front yard."

Locals believe the cemetery will negatively impact the suburb's rural amenity.

Residents raised concerns about noise, traffic, visual impacts and the character of the development throughout the approval process.

However the planning panel found that the proposed development was substantially compliant with relevant planning instruments.

"The proposed 30-metre landscape buffer to Mitchell Place is capable of providing a substantial landscape separation between residents of Mitchell Place and the development," the panel's report stated.

"The panel is satisfied that the noise associated with the proposal can be adequately managed.

"The panel is satisfied that the traffic impacts associated with the proposal are acceptable."

The panel also stipulated that the developer must abide by additional precautionary conditions relating to staging, compliance, construction, fencing, occupation and use.

Mr Grierson said locals had waged a strong campaign against the development.

"A lot of residents raised submissions and I spoke at every panel meeting this came up at," he said.

"We held a meeting with more than 100 people, we submitted videos showing the traffic impacts on the intersections and one of my neighbours had a petition signed by more than 100 residents."

Mr Grierson said the future graveyard would give his beloved suburb an unfortunate label.

"We're going to be known as Douglas Park - the place with the cemetery," Mr Grierson said.

"We have neighbours who are concerned about their children growing up living across from it."

Mr Grierson said the decision had left him uncertain of what the future might hold.

"I am not a wealthy man, I'm a worker and I've worked really hard to live out here," he said.

"Now my wife and I are considering if we should stay or go.

"But either way we lose because our property value will decrease and who wants to live next to cemetery?"