Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

The Hunters Hill Trust

The Hunters Hill Trust

Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

Figtree Park – a win for the trees!

The independent Local Planning Panel (LPP) has rejected Hunters Hill Council’s Development Application to remove trees in Figtree Park for the second time! This is a significant win for community action and we are delighted that common sense and environmental concerns have prevailed.
The LPP who delivered its ruling on 17 March were unanimous in their decision that the DA was not in the public interest but also had other objections – see their ruling here Local Planning Panel LPP Refusal 170323
In spite of this, at its meeting on 27 March, Council voted 5 to 2 to adopt an amended proposal that would enable them to ‘proceed with the project based on a revised design that does not require the removal of any prescribed vegetation’.
Option 1, which was to return the grant money to the State was rejected.   An amendment by Councillor Williams that included a motion to come back to the community with their changed proposals, was also rejected.
The Local Planning Panel were unhappy at being asked to make piecemeal decisions and were well aware of the strategic significance of the Park to the unacknowledged redevelopment of 40-48 Gladesville Rd, particularly as this was already detailed in Figtree Park’s Plan of Management.
Their issues were ones the Trust has been raising since the proposal for the Park was put forward (see previous posts) and the lack of transparency by Council in not acknowledging that Stage 2 of the redevelopment plan for Hunters Hill Village rejected by the community but still on the table, is disturbing.
When the Trust raised this issue at the meeting we were surprised at the General Manager’s insistence that a Master plan for the area does not exist, in spite of multiple references in consultants’ reports and Council’s own documents!  Our president followed up with an email to the GM the next morning correcting this assertion.
With an alternative access point to the park available for upgrade, the Trust also questioned the decision to provide a ‘grand entrance’ to the Park by demolishing the house that Council owns at 48 Gladesville Rd.   Having been left empty for many months, this decision has already deprived ratepayers of thousands of dollars of rental income.

The issue for those who value this unique park in our garden suburb is over-development, with bulky and badly positioned infrastructure, use of unsustainable materials and the lack of design flair to complement this special site.

Every voice is important if we want to protect our special Municipality so if you’d also like to have your say, write a brief note to the GM at requesting copies to Councillors, raising concerns such as:

– Lack of transparency about Stage 2 redevelopment plans, already rejected by the community.
– The demolition of Council’s revenue generating asset at 48 Gladesville Road to provide a ‘grand entrance’ to the park.
– No opportunity for the community to comment on the proposed infrastructure as Council’s DAs were only for the trees.
– The lack of expert review of the design to ensure sustainability and a high level of excellence.
With the huge sum at their disposal, Council has no excuse for not producing a sustainable and high level upgrade with quality materials and trees finally cared for after years of neglect.

2023-03-30T10:52:23+11:00March 30, 2023|

LEP/DCP Review – the community calls for meaningful input

The review of our Local Environment Plan (LEP) and associated Development Control Plan (DCP) is happening now and there’s a lot at stake in terms of what can happen to the character and density of our suburbs and the future height of built structures.


A public meeting will be held in the Town Hall at 7pm on Wednesday 15 March so come along to show strong community engagement with this review.   Register to attend at

The Trust has already stressed to Council the need for the community to be given the opportunity for meaningful input into the outcome of the review – rather than the public meeting being used as a ‘housekeeping’ exercise – and genuine consideration must be given to community feedback.


It has been revealed that some changes to the LEP have already been prepared by Hunters Hill Council planners and that the Planning Minister Anthony Roberts has signed off on the State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment (Land Use Zones) 2022 that becomes Legislation on 26 April 2023.  Changes involve alterations to categories of zoning but we do not yet know if the zones themselves have changed, which could have far reaching implications…..


The President of Local Government NSW has expressed grave concerns about rezonings occurring behind the closed doors of the Planning Dept stating:
”Sidelining councils and the community from this critical role will only benefit the commercial interests of developers and further degrades the community from having any say about what developments occur in their areas.”

We are concerned at the continuing push by developers for increased heights and densities in our suburbs, particularly in light of some major developments being proposed. So come along and ask questions. Register to attend at

2023-03-10T12:11:33+11:00March 10, 2023|

Residents need to be heard ….!

Two very pertinent letters appeared in the local paper The Weekly Times this week with very relevant comments on hot button issues for the community. 
Entitled ‘Grants for projects ….’ and ‘Council’s in denial….’  these reference Council’s about turn in granting ratepayer funds to the building of the Sports Facility at Boronia Park and its refusal to accept the decision by the Local Planning Panel regarding the removal of trees at Figtree Park.

2023-03-10T11:39:58+11:00March 10, 2023|

Council’s DA for the removal of 21 trees at Figtree Park rejected!

We’re delighted that the independent Local Planning Panel, which met on 19 December to consider Council’s Amended DA for the removal of 21 trees at Figtree Park, resolved to refuse the application.  Their reasons were:

  • Insufficient details of proposed infrastructure works have been provided to justify removal of the trees as listed.
  • Insufficient detail has been provided in relation to any necessary removal of garden bed concrete edging within the structural root zones of retained trees.
  • Insufficient detail of the location and type of proposed fencing has been provided.
  • No detail has been provided for any work required to address the current drainage issues in the Park.
  • The proposal in its current form, is not considered to be in the public interest.

We are pleased that commonsense has prevailed and the LPP has agreed that there is not enough detail to justify why so many trees are being removed or to understand the extent and location of all the proposed infrastructure.
The Trust has been requesting full disclosure of Council’s Master plan, referred to in their DA and consultant documentation, in order that the purpose of this project can be fully understood by the community.
Council openly states this is just “stage 1 of a broader Council initiative to develop a community precinct within the heart of the Hunters Hill town centre.  The removal of trees is consistent with the master plan for the above mentioned works”.    So where and what is Stage 2?
So far Council has denied the existence of a Master plan implying that it is the consultant’s ‘Concept’ plan, but we believe this is because the Master plan involves the development of Gladesville Road, as detailed in the Property Strategy already rejected by the community. Disclosure about the extent of this publicly funded project is now essential if Council’s professed transparency is to be believed.

2023-01-12T21:11:28+11:00January 12, 2023|

HHT Journal December 2022

Beautiful Jacarandas around every corner

Our latest HHT JOURNAL December 2022 is here for you to enjoy.  We again cover the continued loss of our trees and the main reasons why this is happening.   Page 3 & 4 is a special supplement featuring another two modernist mid-century homes built by notable architects, which we hope will add to the ‘register’ of these important local houses.

This edition includes:

    • From the President’s Desktop
    • The Continuing Loss of our Trees
    • Hunters Hill Modern
    • Figtree Park Amended DA
    • Montefiore Site
    • Barangaroo
    • Vale Carl Ryves
2022-12-29T12:04:38+11:00December 29, 2022|

What a fun party…..!

It was exciting to be able to finally have an ‘in person’ Christmas Party and a leisurely twilight river cruise onboard the vintage ferry Royale!  Over 80 of our members booked to go on the 3 hour cruise which gave us plenty of time to enjoy some wonderful sights, a delicious spread, plenty of wine and excellent company!
We had lots to catch up on, and cruising past our lovely local foreshore and beyond, under the Harbour Bridge, past the Opera House and into Darling Harbour proved a wonderful backdrop, especially with Christmas and celebration in the air!   The images below say it all! One of our members kindly summed it up beautifully:

How spoilt we all felt to be out on the water on such a magic evening! Everyone I spoke to loved the venue and as we said it is not often we see the sights so comprehensively from the water at close range. Wonderful organisation and wonderful company!

Our very best wishes to all our members for a happy festive season and a healthy and peaceful 2023!

2022-12-29T11:58:00+11:00December 11, 2022|

Amended Plans for Figtree Park: A missed opportunity…..

It is extremely disappointing that with a total of $4.75m of public money being invested in this project, this amended DA20220104 for Figtree Park is for the removal, rather than the care, of our valuable park trees.
Little attempt has been made to maximise the retention of significant native and exotic deciduous trees that give this public land its particular character and amenity.
Council have opted to make only a modest reduction in tree removals in a nod to community pressure (see our August posts below…)   A few of the more iconic trees in this unique park have been saved, but there are still 27 (not 21) individual trees to be removed and some trees not originally under threat, have now been added to the ‘destroy’ list!
With so much money at its disposal, Council could have dramatically improved the condition of all the existing trees so as to retain as much as possible of the natural tree cover.  This would be both beneficial to the environment and improve usage of the park.
However many of the trees in the picture below are to be removed – reducing a huge area of shade just where new seating is planned! WHY?

The 11m Willow Gum (in the foreground) endangered in its natural state and in dire need of pruning, was originally given a “Consider for Retention” status by the Arborists. This is now to be cut down, together with the Willow Gum behind it, the Native Daphne on the right and most of the middle storey trees in this photo!

Some healthy trees such as the Broad leafed Paperbark and Queensland Firewheel pictured below, will be cut down to make way for footpaths!  Some trees that in the previous DA were only going to be pruned, are now being removed.  And a tree that was deemed by Arborists to be ‘Priority for Removal’ is now saved!   What’s going on?
Ensuring existing trees have the best of attention by being pruned and tended in order to extend their life as much as possible should be a given and removing any but the most seriously damaged, could be considered vandalism!
Residents expect Council to lead the community in ‘best practice’ and set a high standard in terms of tree conservation and management, particularly in light of our declining tree canopy and continued tree destruction.

The decisions made in this DA appear conflicting and random and it is a missed opportunity which does little to instil confidence that there is any concern from Council to minimise tree loss.
See the Trust’s submission here Submission for DA20220104 Figtree Park Removal of 21 Trees 031222
Address submissions to by 5pm Tuesday 6 December.

2022-12-08T18:56:18+11:00December 4, 2022|


If you’d like to know more about the history and purpose of our organisation, below is a good summary of our philosophy and passion for the built and natural environment, published in The Weekly Times on 2 November 2022. 
Our membership is growing and we’d love to welcome you to the family.  We encourage everyone to support the Trust in standing up for our irreplaceable heritage, mature tree cover, sandstone foreshores and precious natural bushland – which are exactly the reasons why many of us chose to live here! 

BECOME A MEMBER (click the link on the left)


The Weekly Times 2 November 2022

2022-11-15T12:53:39+11:00November 14, 2022|

What’s the community benefit of 20 year licence over Boronia Park?

Boronia Park is dedicated crown land reserved for Public Recreation, however the proposed Licence Agreement between Hunters Hill Council and Hunters Hill Rugby Union Football Club, allows the Rugby Club almost exclusive rights to the planned facility and expanded use of all 3 playing fields plus parking areas and access roads, for a period of 20 years.
Council argues that the Rugby Club will not need to pay for use of the facility, or contribute to its maintenance, because of their ‘significant financial contribution’ to Council. This contribution consists almost entirely of Government grants, and tax deductible donations. The guidelines of the three government grants effectively “gifted” to Council and/or the Rugby Club by local State and Federal politicians, are ambiguous.
None specifically state that it is to fund construction of the facility identified in the approved DA as the ‘Boronia Park Sports and Community Facility’ for which there has been no open tender process and a lack of transparency as to whether the combined funds will actually cover the final cost of the building.

Site of new ‘facility’ will involve cutting down these mature Eucalypts

The Trust objects to the proposed licence, which will result in ratepayers being responsible for the long term upkeep of the ‘facility’. It is highly unlikely that residents will receive any significant benefit because the bulk of the bookings will be for the exclusive use of the Rugby club.
We question whether Council has demonstrated responsible management of its finances or of the public land under its care and control.
Objections can be submitted to the General Manager at by Wed 26 October.  See the Trust’s submission here Boronia Park Licence Agreement HHT submssion

2022-11-02T12:22:25+11:00October 23, 2022|

Where to next for Figtree Park……??

Following community concerns regarding the controversial Figtree Park DA to remove 37 trees (see August posts below), Council resolved to review the DA and the scale of the infrastructure. No word yet but we’re looking forward to hearing the new proposals for this unique park.
Meanwhile back at the park, the trees under threat have been putting on a beautiful show…..!   After some gorgeous spring blossoms, the deciduous trees in the two pictures below are now full of summer foliage and providing a leafy haven for the birds….


This 13m high Willow Gum and the three Weeping Elms behind it are looking good – but are they still under threat….?


And what about these lovely slow growing and sculptural Junipers? Are they safe?

Residents will be expecting careful consideration by Council to ensure the new design avoids the unwarranted removal of healthy trees.

2022-11-07T08:46:55+11:00October 21, 2022|
Go to Top