Save Our Open Space
About TG Millner Fields
TG Millner Fields comprise some 7 acres of precious open community space, situated in Marsfield at 146 Vimiera Road.
The iconic fields were named after Thomas George (TG) Millner (1887-1986), a prominent local with links to rugby union and the Eastwood Rugby Club.
The TG Millner Fields were donated by the Millner family in the 1960s to the Eastwood Rugby Club for community use.
TG Millner remains a vitally important open green space venue for sports and recreation year-round in the City of Ryde and no such facilities exist elsewhere in the local government area. The loss of this land would be immeasurable. We are asking you to show your support of Council’s position.
Aerial survey photo 1943, site of TG Millner Fields. Source: NSW Land Registry Six Maps.
Plaque near driveway entry into the site in memory of TG Millner
Aerial view showing the TG Millner Fields
What has been proposed on the TG Millner site?
The land was sold in its entirety to North Ryde RSL in 2017. In May 2022, the owner lodged a planning proposal to Council to rezone the land with a view to build 132 new homes on the site. Council advised that the proposal was inconsistent with our Open Space Future Provision Strategy and had strategic inconsistencies.
With Council failing to support the proposal, the owner submitted a State Significant Development Application with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment seeking to enable the development of the land for seniors' housing and a park. At the same time, the owner submitted a rezoning review to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for consideration. The independent Sydney North Planning Panel determined at its meeting held on 30 November that the proposal did not have sufficient strategic merit to progress to exhibition.
Why is our open space so important?
Open space areas are critical to strategic planning in major cities and are a dwindling resource in Greater Sydney. It is really important that people have access to places, near their homes, where they can relax, exercise, play and enjoy the natural environment. Open spaces also promote healthier lifestyles and provide relief from our built environment. Green open spaces can also help mitigate against climate change and improve air and water quality in cities.
What is Council doing in relation to the planning proposal?
At an ordinary Council meeting held on 25 October 2022, Council voted to endorse a submission to the Department of Planning and Environment opposing the planning proposal, which was considered as part of the rezoning review process.
Council also wrote to the Prime Minister, Premier of NSW, the NSW Minister for Planning, the Member for Ryde, the Member for Epping, the Member for Lane Cove, and the Member for Bennelong advising of our position and seeking their commitment or reaffirmation of their support for the retention of this important public recreational open space.
Council has also offered to purchase the TG Millner fields site in order to ensure the public will able to access this open space into the future.
Why did Council oppose the planning proposal?
Council opposed the planning proposal for a number of reasons, including:
- There is partial consistency with existing strategies in relation to housing diversity only.
- The planning proposal is inconsistent with Council’s Open Space Future Provision Strategy (OSFPS) in that it is not providing for playing fields, and strategic justification in other areas is weak.
- It is also considered to be inconsistent with the relevant open space objectives of the North District Plan.
- The reliance on the master plan to achieve strategic merits leaves significant uncertainty with respect to key outcomes.
- The site-specific merits also rely on uncertain provisions such as tree planting on private allotments ultimately beyond the control of the applicant and uncertain delivery of housing diversity given SEPP provisions.
- Ryde LGA does not require additional rezonings to achieve required dwelling targets; by comparison, formal playing fields are needed to meet the community’s future recreation needs.
- The TG Millner Fields were donated by the Millner family in the 1960s for community use, specifically to the Eastwood Rugby Club. Whilst this is a private arrangement, the broader community benefits have not been appropriately considered in the planning proposal.
The independent Sydney North Planning Panel determined at its meeting held on 30 November that the proposal did not have sufficient strategic merit to progress to exhibition. A Gateway Determination confirms that a proposal has sufficient strategic and site-specific merit for it to progress to exhibition. Further information on the planning process is available on the NSW Department of Planning and Environment website.
Council will provide updates as they occur.
Have your say
Have your say on Council's position by completing the form below.
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