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Northern Daily Leader Extracts
King George V Ave’s oaks are unique and worth preserving
March 29, 2012
The Leader reader Chris McKinnon of Tamworth has extensively researched the origins of the English oaks along King George V Ave and their significance to the city ahead of Monday night’s public meeting.
WHAT was the original intent of King George V Ave?
In the Tamworth City Library there are copies of The Northern Daily Leader stored on microfiche dating back to 1936.
In these papers are the original reports from the first town meetings about our beloved avenue.
February 28, 1936: Report on the first public meeting convened by the mayor of Tamworth, at the request of the townspeople, where the decision to establish a memorial to the late King George V, by planting an avenue of English oak trees along the Lower Nemingha Rd, was discussed and agreed upon.
Present at this first meeting were members of the Tamworth Town Beautification and Progress Association, mayor of Tamworth (Ald JK Killalea), Dr Piper, Mr TJ Treloar and members of the community who were responsible for the original concept and the collection of monies to fund the purchase of the trees.
It was also reported that the trees were to be planted and the memorial avenue opened and dedicated during the Tamworth diamond jubilee celebrations in October 1936.
At this meeting the community decided that an avenue was the most fitting memorial to a king who loved trees. Also it was thought fitting that the memorial should consist of English oaks, like the ones surrounding Sandringham Palace.
It was also decided that the trees were to be planted along one of the earliest roads in the region, previously known as Lower Nemingha Rd.
This road was renamed King George V Ave as part of this project.
This road is reported to have been selected as the site of the avenue for a number of reasons:
1. The road was on river flats which were always green and an area where English trees would grow;
2. The proposed memorial would take in a small drive of no great length around the flats and in time it would become one of the town’s attractions where visitors could be taken;
3. It was a project which the people of Tamworth could carry out successfully;
4. An avenue of English oaks would be especially fitting as the oak was a symbol of British heritage and associated with the King’s navy; and
5. The area suggested was a good one as it did not come under the jurisdiction of the Main Roads Department. For an avenue to be effective, the trees should be planted close to the roadway.
On NSW main roads, trees had to be planted at least a chain distant on each side and the effect was disheartening.
The planting of the trees were to be 44 feet apart (13.4m) with a gap of 36 feet (10.9m) for the roadway. The growth of the English oak is such that it was expected that eventually the foliage would interlace overhead forming an arch.
According to research carried out by Professor Helen Armstrong and Craig Burton in the 1980s and published in Street Trees in NSW there were three major eras when English oaks were used as street trees – the 1780s-1850s, 1880s-1900 and the 1930s-1940s.
This avenue falls into the last era when English oaks were used and is indicative of the common practice at the time of celebrating Australia’s allegiance to Britain with the dedicating of parks and gardens to members of the royal family.
By the end of WWII the planting of memorial avenues had declined in popularity.
The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens describes an avenue as “a double row of trees that mark landscapes in Australia with formal, scenic and commemorative elements. They may invite journey … create amenity, signify remembrance”.
It goes on to state that “the regularity of their equally spaced trees, usually of the same species, planted on both sides of a road … creates their importance. Well grown, their crowns may join to create an archway or ‘cathedral’ effect in the European manner”. It goes on to state that “most Australian avenues have a lighter, more open appearance due to poorer growth, wide public roadways or the open crowns of eucalyptus”.
If you take a walk or drive along King George V Ave you can see that the trees in this avenue have formed this thick canopy due to the exemplary conditions in which they were originally planted and they do in fact form a true “avenue” in every way.
The reference goes on to state that avenues are difficult to maintain against the depredations of traffic, engineers, development, electricity authorities, etc.
The integrity of this particular avenue is good with more than half of the original trees still in existence.
Replacement of trees has been undertaken by the community during the intervening years.
These oaks were planted in the last era of a time when English oaks were used for avenue and street tree plantings in Australia.
Oak trees used in plantings at this time were commonly sourced from England, eg, the 1927 York St plantation in the ACT was sourced from Kew Gardens. However, to date we have not been able to find reference to the actual source of the oak tree seedlings which were purchased for this avenue.
Suggestions are they may have come from the same place as the River Drive Parramatta Park oaks, of which very few still exist as they were planted on a stony ridge, their source being the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.
Research has not been able to find any other English oak memorial avenues with the age and integrity of this avenue anywhere in Australia.
This avenue was designed and planted by the community of Tamworth in 1936 as a memorial to a loved king and the original intent of our forefathers was for a place for people to visit and enjoy.
From then to the present day it has been used as a public amenity by the people of Tamworth and visitors for recreational purposes providing a beautiful, peaceful and safe place for walking, cycling, horseriding, wedding photographs, picnics and the like.
There is overwhelming community support to preserve the avenue which was in evidence with the submission of a petition to council of 7000 signatures in 2010, against plans to turn the road into an access route to a planned subdivision.
The current concept plan for this subdivison now wishes to widen the road and replant the trees.
This will destroy the avenue and the original intent of this beautiful place will be lost to the community and to our visitors forever.
Signatures to save King George Ave trees given to local councillors
Jacqueline van Aanholt
April 4, 2012
TWO petitions bearing more than 6100 names were presented to Tamworth Regional Council yesterday, in support of protecting 48 English oak trees on King George V Ave.
Calling for the council to “stop the proposed road being developed across the flood plain from Calala through this beautiful landmark” the presentation of the petitions, including one that gathered signatures online, coincided with the close of submissions for the draft development controls for the proposed Peel River Estate.
The petition presented to TRC will be used in conjunction with another bearing more than 7000 signatures collated when the issue of the development was first presented 18 months ago.
Petition organiser David McKinnon said he had been pleasantly surprised with the number of signatures received.
“It really is overwhelming,” he said.
“The fact we could gather 6170 extra names points to council that this is a growing issue and something that won’t go away. People are passionate about the trees and want them to stay.”
Fellow King George V Ave resident Carmel Madirazza, who was present for the petition handover, said she was also delighted with the community support.
“This time we had a lot more involvement from young people,” she said.
“We’re really thankful to them for coming forward and showing that they care too.”
Tamworth Regional Council general manager Paul Bennett, who accepted the petition on the council’s behalf, praised the way supporters of the trees had conducted themselves during the public exhibition period of the draft control plan.
“The group have been following the appropriate processes and have articulated their concerns in an open way,” he said.
Mr Bennett said the public meeting held at Tamworth Community Centre on Monday night had proven that the group was willing to work together to achieve an
“Council is determined to make sure the decision regarding the proposed roadway through the avenue is made locally,” he said.
“For that to happen the community need to be vocal and they have been in a way that clearly states what they want.”
TRC had received more than 30 submissions in relation to the proposed development before the closing date for submissions rolled around at 5pm yesterday.
Indications now suggest the submissions will all be considered and a report is likely to come back to a council meeting in June.
It’s not over, but report backs King’s trees
Jacqueline van Aanholt
May 6, 2012
It’s not over, but report backs King’s trees
A REPORT to tomorrow night’s Tamworth Regional Council meeting recommends that the threatened 46 old oak trees in King George V Ave in Tamworth be saved.
The recommendation asks councillors not to support the proposed link road from the Peel River Estate at Calala to the Tamworth CBD via King George V Ave which would have involved the removal of the English oak trees.
Another recommendation suggests council advises Peel River Estate representatives that an alternate access road to the estate will be required following the construction of the 150 dwellings on the site.
The issue of the draft Peel River Estate development control plans returns to the meeting following a public exhibition period and the return of submissions to
The chief protagonists in the fight to save the trees lining the avenue have meanwhile publicly encouraged as many supporters to turn up to the meeting to show the council just how solid the protest campaign is.
In the draft development control plan the 76-year-old trees are slated for removal and replacement with younger trees from council’s tree nursery to enable the road to be widened.
A number of protection organisations and local groups have come out in support of saving the trees.
The National Trust and the Returned and Services League (RSL) wrote to council urging the preservation of the trees. The RSL suggested it had donated a number of the trees in the 1930s.
More than 450 protest letters and 14,000-plus signatures were received by council in response to the estate’s first two concept plans.
At a public meeting held in March more than 300 Tamworth residents voted unanimously against the destruction of the trees.
Save King George Ave V action group member David McKinnon said protecting the trees must be slowly dawning on TRC as commonsense.
“At a time when other authorities are spending millions on creating or preserving community assets like King George Ave, TRC can’t possibly act irresponsibly in welcoming the developer’s bulldozers,” he said.
Mr McKinnon suggested if councillors did not listen to “the clear wish”of their electorate, then they would be replaced in September when the local government elections were held.
The issue of the draft concept plan is listed for discussion at the meeting, which begins at 6.30pm.
King George trees supporters’ efforts pay off
May 8, 2012
THE decision to keep the King George V Ave trees follows countless efforts by local supporters to protect them.
No less than 200 submissions were received by the council calling for the trees to be saved.
The council was also sent several petitions bearing more than 12,000 signatures that were presented in conjunction with another petition – bearing 7000 names – collated when the issue of the development was first presented 18 months ago.
A public meeting of about 1000 people in the Tamworth Community Centre in April unanimously called for the council to “stop the proposed road being developed across the floodplain from Calala through this beautiful landmark”.
Aside from the issue of the trees, other objections to the draft controls included the capacity of King George V Ave and Paradise Bridge to handle the potential increase of traffic, if the through road was approved; the potential adverse effect on properties and/or the commercial viability of agricultural activity near the proposed road across the floodplain; and the expense of constructing the link road across the floodplain and upgrading the avenue, when compared with other perceived options that would link the estate to Scott Rd.
The report to the council said the the removal of the oak trees was not in the public interest and the road should not be supported.
“In any case, the assessment has identified that an alternate access road to the Peel River Estate development will need to be identified, considered and implemented to allow development beyond the construction of 150 dwellings on the site,” the report said.
Trees saved: Tamworth Regional Council decides King George V Ave’s fate
Jacqueline van Aanholt
May 8, 2012
IT’S agreed, the trees are safe.
What form that takes is yet to be determined.
At last night’s Tamworth Regional Council meeting eight of the nine TRC councillors agreed 47 English oak trees lining Tamworth’s King George V Ave will stay.
The councillor not to vote was Cr Ray Tait who was absent.
Five speakers, community members Barry John, Stephen Warden and Iily Ystra, chair of the Calala Community Development Committee Robin Gardner, and Andrew Wiesener representing the Peel River Estate addressed the council meeting about the trees before a decision was made.
The decision wasn’t straightforward though.
During the community consultation process Andrew Wiesener – one of four members of a syndicate that forms the Peel River Estate development groups – made councillors and the group of more than 60 residents in the public gallery aware of an alternative proposal suggested to council on Monday.
Under the alternative proposal the 47 trees on the southern side of the avenue would be retained and the existing roadway upgraded to create a single east bound lane with an adjoining cycle path. A west bound lane would be built on the other side of the 47 trees previously slated for removal and underground powerlines would be installed.
“It has never been our intention to destroy the amenity of the avenue,” Mr Wiesener said.
“To date we have sought to create a new and desirable community in Calala and as a result of the public consultation it’s become clear the initial proposal for the avenue was not acceptable and that’s why we decided to propose the alternative.”
Cr James Treloar suggested an amendment be added to the recommendations saying he would be supportive of the developer’s proposal being included in the development application, which will be placed on public exhibition in the near future.
“It’s a great way to move the development forward,” he said.
Cr Wilson commended the efforts of the community but also the innovation of the development.
“I don’t support the removal of the trees,” she said.
“My personal preference has always been for an alternative access.”
Cr Betts called for a heritage process to formally acknowledge the trees be put in place.
Cr Durant admitted he originally had no problems with the trees being replaced.
“For 30 years we’ve been trying to find a (way) that helps provide access to Calala,” he said.
“The new proposal sounds all right.”
Councillors Webb and Woodley also supported the need for the heritage of the trees to be formally acknowledged.
Developers of the proposed 500-dwelling integrated housing development near Calala will now need to find an alternative access route leading to the CBD.
All other development control plans listed in the original draft development control plan will be adopted in principle.
As a matter arising, Cr Wilson suggested councillors take part in a workshop to discuss the heritage of the trees and other ideas to form a holistic strategy that would care for and manage the trees into the future.
New proposal to make King George V Ave into 2 separate roads
Jacqueline van Aanholt
May 9, 2012
PEEL River Estate developers say they have listened to the community and have proposed an alternative that keeps their concerns in mind.
At Tuesday night’s Tamworth Regional Council meeting, Andrew Wiesener – one member of the four-developer syndicate that forms Peel River Estate – presented the updated proposal for an access road from the estate at Calala to Tamworth’s CBD.
The new proposal, outlined in three minutes during the community consultation part of the meeting, suggests upgrading King George V Ave to make it a single-lane road with a cycle path for east-bound traffic.
On the outside of the 47 English oak trees, previously slated for removal, a west-bound single lane will be
The new proposal means the existing road alignment of the avenue will stay.
It is also proposed, under the new plan, that services, including power, will be underground on the southern side of the avenue next to the proposed west-bound lane.
“ We listened to what the community was saying about King George V Ave and identified this new option as a way to provide access while preserving the character of the avenue,” a spokesman for the Peel River Estate Project told The Leader.
“We have started detailed discussions with council, with a view to lodging a development application for this proposal within the next few months.”
The “11th-hour” proposal by Peel River Estate developers caused confusion among King George V Ave stakeholders at the conclusion of Tuesday night’s Tamworth Regional Council meeting.
Save King George V Ave action group member David McKinnon said the group had been left struggling to work out what had happened.
Mr McKinnon said the proposal to create a two-lane road on King George V Ave, on either side of the avenue of English oak trees, posed more questions than answers.
“We’re not sure the developers are aware of a proposal to put a pipeline from the starch mill along the road,” he said.
Regardless, Mr McKinnon said the newest proposal might have saved the trees for now, but would still ultimately end in their demise.
“We have spoken to Australian Standards and they have suggested if another roadway were to be created on the other side of the trees, it could not be hard-surfaced,” he said.
Mr McKinnon said should the dual roadway be created, the health of the trees would further decline.
“All of the tree reports suggest they are vulnerable,” he said.
“If a road was created either side, there would be no compensation for the root systems.”
He said the group’s next move would be to make submissions when the estate’s development application was put on public exhibition – that should happen in the coming weeks.
“It’s important people realise the trees aren’t completely safe and that we all still need to work for the best outcome,” he said.
New Calala estate gets green light
Jacqueline van Aanholt
Dec. 12, 2012
APPROVAL has been given for the first 104 lots of the Peel River Estate at Calala, the development which sparked the controversy over a road extension to Tamworth’s King George V Ave.
Seven of the eight councillors present at Tuesday night’s Tamworth Regional Council meeting supported a recommendation that will enable the development application’s first stage to proceed.
The application and the approval do not include the original road extension plan which generated considerable debate about the future of English oak trees along the avenue.
Cr Mark Rodda voted against approving the first stage of the development, which ultimately proposes to accommodate more than 500 lots, as he believed planning for a secondary access road for Calala should accompany any part of the development, regardless of the number of lots.
Under the first stage of the development the trigger for a secondary access road to alleviate traffic pressures in Calala is not needed.
The development of the first 104 lots will be subject to more than 40 development conditions including roads specifications, stormwater drainage, footpaths, street lighting and landscaping. Access to the lots will be through a number of existing Calala residential streets including Gordon St and Campbell Rd.
The developer will be required to pay almost $3000 per lot as a contribution towards open space embellishment, community facilities, cycle- way provisions and urban roads associated with the first stage being established.
During the community consultation phase of the meeting four people addressed the council on the issue of the secondary access road.
Calala Community Development Committee secretary John Scharkie said the time to consider a secondary access road was “now”.
“In order to facilitate Calala’s continued growth we need to plan now,” he said, suggesting the best route for an alternate road to the CBD would run parallel to Goonoo Goonoo Creek.
King George V Ave resident and a leader of the fight to preserve the English oak trees, David McKinnon, said he could not understand why an early suggestion to create an entry way from the first stage of the estate directly onto Calala Lane could not be re-engaged.
Fellow King George V Ave resident Barry John suggested the construction of a road from the development past the Calala water treatment plant, with a roundabout onto Calala Lane near the Goonoo Goonoo Creek bridge.
He said at a later date a new access road that would run parallel to the north bank of Goonoo Goonoo Creek, onto Scott Rd and into town, should be developed.
When the recommendation in the council report was discussed councillors James Treloar and Phil Betts said they were comfortable with it as it stood.
“When we have the 150 houses triggered we can discuss the alternate access and all of the options for it then,” Cr Treloar said.
“With the development of these 104 lots the traffic study shows the extra car movements, which equate to about eight an hour, will be catered for by those existing residential streets.”
Cr Warren Woodley was absent from the meeting.
Tamworth’s King George V Ave Trees in eye of the National Trust
Jacqueline van Aanholt
March 6, 2013
STATE RECOGNITION: The NSW National Trust has added the King George V Ave English oak trees to its register and plans to nominate it for a place on the national register, too.
TAMWORTH’S King George V Ave trees have been added to the NSW National Trust’s register.
At a board meeting held last Wednesday, the board adopted a recommendation to add the avenue of English oak trees to its state register.
The listing includes all of the trees lining the avenue, and parts of the avenue to where the original bridge was washed away by flood waters in the 1950s.
The National Trust advocacy manager Graham Quint said the listing was a significant milestone for the avenue.
“The trust was aware of the avenue and the trees before the listing was presented,” Mr Quint said.
The report presented to the trust for consideration before adopting the listing detailed its origins, including that the original planting of the trees, in 1936, comprised 318 trees, planted along the Lower Nemingha Rd, which was subsequently renamed King George V Memorial Avenue.
The National Trust was the first body in Australia to begin heritage listing procedures in the 1940s.
Mr Quint said while the listing was not legally binding, it often led to heritage listings on state and local council heritage lists and was the first step towards a state heritage listing.
“The NSW National Trust is involved with all other National Trusts who are in the process of setting up an Australian significant tree register,” he said.
“The trees in Tamworth’s King George V Ave will be one of the first nominations we intend to put forward as a nomination to go on to that national list.”
Mr Quint said the trust believed the Tamworth avenue of trees was unlike any other.
“It’s unique because of a number of reasons, but primarily because of the historical significance in being named after King George V, the relationship to Tamworth’s diamond jubilee and the fact it is the only avenue of English oaks that has gown to create a natural, cathedral-like canopy.”
Mr Quint said into the future the National Trust would keep a close eye on the avenue as part of its listing.
That monitoring will include ensuring maintenance of the trees and protecting it from any detrimental development.
Royal tree decree: Council backs heritage listing of King George V’s English oaks
July 11, 2013
A STEP CLOSER: Steve Warden and David McKinnon and their fellow supporters are happy Tamworth Regional Council has supported the proposed listing of King George V Ave on the NSW State Heritage Register.
ANOTHER battle in the fight to preserve King George V Ave’s English oak trees has been won, with Tamworth Regional Council supporting the avenue’s proposed listing on the NSW State Heritage Register.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, councillors resolved to make a submission on the intended listing, highlighting the avenue’s heritage value, the community interest in it, “the relatively poor state of some of the trees”, and “the strategic importance of the road for the city in future years”. The submission will also cover the need for financial support from the Heritage Council to manage the avenue, with exemptions sought under the listing including pruning, maintenance and removal of dangerous trees and limbs, a request for further information on the council’s future obligations, and the possible resumption of land to install underground powerlines to protect the trees.
The recommendation put to the council outlined the suggested contents of the submission but was amended by the councillors at the prompting of councillor Mark Rodda, to remove reference to a replanting regime to facilitate the future widening of the road, change the lines “the relatively poor state of the trees” and “the strategic importance of the road access for the city in future years”, and add the point to consider the resumption of land.
Cr Rodda told The Leader he believed the amended points had been contrary to the potential heritage listing.
He wanted to retain the avenue because he valued the city’s heritage, he said.
Resident and advocate David McKinnon said the listing would likely not go ahead without the council’s support.
“We’re just so incredibly grateful to the council that they were able to respond to the community’s wishes,” Mr McKinnon said.
He credited the wider Tamworth community with the success so far of the push to preserve the avenue.
East Tamworth resident Steve Warden is among those fighting for the avenue to remain intact.
“I think the councillors have made a very difficult decision, but the correct decision,” Mr Warden said.
The report to the council recommended the Heritage Council encourage the removal of powerlines along the avenue, as they were the reason for the lopping of the trees, to shift them underground – a proposal that was supported by campaigners. The report also said the council’s horticultural staff believed many trees would die in the next 20 to 50 years.
But Robin Gunning, a principal research scientist with the Department of Primary Industries, said beetle damage was associated with human damage, and better care would improve their health.
“It’s just one of the most beautiful places in Tamworth and I’d like to see it preserved for all of us,” she said.
The listing on the State Heritage Register would limit the work that could be undertaken without approval from the Heritage Council.
Once listed, Tamworth Regional Council could be eligible for funding of up to $4000 on a dollar-for-dollar basis to develop a management plan, and could also apply for grants of up to $75,000 to undertake works on the site.
The avenue has already been included on the NSW National Trust register and has been put forward for the National Trust of Australia significant tree register.
Oaks safeguard: King George V trees now on State Heritage Register
March 13, 2014
A COMMUNITY-LED campaign to preserve King George V Ave’s English oaks has come up trumps, with the memorial avenue awarded the state’s highest level of protection yesterday.
Heritage Minister Robyn Parker joined Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson and Tamworth Regional councillors to make the announcement under the hallowed trees, which were planted by the Rotary Club of Tamworth as a tribute to King George V following his death in 1936.
It was the iconic boulevard’s unique status as the only avenue of oaks in NSW that saw it accepted onto the State Heritage Register, Ms Parker said.
“Planted almost 80 years ago, the King George V memorial avenue of English oaks is one of the best remaining from an era when avenues of trees were used to mark historic events and people,” she said.
“It’s significant in so many ways … I’m delighted to ensure its protection for generations to come by placing it on the State Heritage Register.”
The decision is the culmination of a fiercely fought four-year battle to have the eye-catching trees recognised and preserved after a proposed 500-house estate threatened their survival.
Although it adds another layer of protection to the historic trees, it does not rule out the avenue’s use as a residential road in the future, according to a council source.
Residents David and Christine McKinnon, who along with dozens of others helped forge a 14,000-signature petition to save the trees, said they can now sleep a little easier knowing the oaks were out of immediate danger.
“This hopefully creates a line between is it going or isn’t it,” Mr McKinnon said.
“It’s now here, it’s staying, so from here on in we are going to enhance it, replant (and) have treatment done on some of the trees.
“As far as the team is concerned we use this as a huge step to restoring this avenue.”
Ms Parker said while the significance of the site would be taken into account “whatever happens into the future”, she cautioned it “does not mean that it’s preserved always exactly the same”.
The avenue’s inclusion on the register ensures its future management is supported by the state’s leading heritage organisation, the Heritage Council of NSW.
In considering the application, the heritage board found the avenue is of potential aesthetic significance because of its cathedral or tunnel-like effect that has been created by the branches interlocking over the road.
It is also considered a rare example of a substantially intact avenue of oaks still surviving in NSW and possibly Australia.
Council supported the avenue’s proposed listing on the register in July last year.
King’s ransom: Peel River Estate developer walks away after five-year fight, says ‘Never again’
Nov. 15, 2014
THE dream is over for prominent developer Andrew Richardson and his partners, with plans for Peel River Estate near Calala shelved and 150 lots to now be sold off to the highest bidder.
Peel River Estate was a 500-home integrated village development proposed for about 100ha behind Calala Ln that would have included a village square and green with shops, parks and community facilities.
Yesterday, though, Mr Richardson confirmed to The Leader that the village concept was “dead” and 150 blocks, with development approval, would now be sold to help cover the debt that had been accruing over five years of trying to get the estate off the ground.
A development application for the remaining 350 lots would be lodged with Tamworth Regional Council in the next few weeks, he said, but there were no immediate plans beyond that.
“We’ll get it approved and sit on it for a few years, see what happens, but it will never be the same concept,” Mr Richardson said.
He said the decision to sell off the blocks and abandon the original plans was disappointing for all involved, but they simply couldn’t afford to wait any longer.
He estimated they had lost about $1 million on the delays and hundreds of thousands in wasted planning costs.
Tamworth, Mr Richardson said, had lost the opportunity for a “world-class village development”.
“Five years ago everyone was just so excited. Council said it was the first time … a fully integrated, environmentally sustainable lifestyle village for all age groups had been presented to them,” Mr Richardson said.
“But we’ve had such a difficult time – it’s been a nightmare, really.
“Time doesn’t seem to have been an issue, it’s just dragged on year after year … and it’s costing us every day.
“We only ever did what the (council) planner told us to … but council kept shifting the goal posts.”
In the past five years, the development faced numerous hurdles, the biggest being 47 English oak trees along King George V Ave.
The proposal included a road from the estate to the Tamworth CBD via King George V Ave, but it drew immediate fire from a group opposed to initial plans to remove some of the trees to accommodate the new access.
Compromises were sought over several years, including leaving the trees where they were and running the road either side of them.
Mr Richardson declared yesterday the tree action group had finally “won” and that the council had let it dominate over a development that would have contributed to the city’s future economic growth.
“Getting swayed by public opinion is no way to plan a city,” he said.
Mr Richardson said it was only a matter of time, though, before another road to the CBD was needed – and King George V Ave was the obvious access point.
The whole experience had been so disheartening, he said, that he had no plans to repeat it.
“I would never do another development in Tamworth.”
By George, it’s on again
May 15, 2015
A VETERAN councillor has infuriated King George V Ave residents by suggesting the stunning boulevard offers the only viable alternative access point to Calala.
BARKING UP THE WRONG TREES: Residents David McKinnon, Joe Madirazza, Theo Madirazza, Christine McKinnon, Joe Campbell, Ethan Crosby-Wolfe, Jodie Crosby and Carmel Madirazza are concerned about the future of King George V Ave.
Councillor James Treloar this week requested staff produce a report detailing the land council would need to acquire to construct a new link to the suburb.
He also called for Tamworth ratepayers to be charged a “special levy”, raising about $200,000 a year, to fund the undergrounding of overhead powerlines in the avenue.
The former mayor said two traffic studies relating to the 500-lot Peel River Estate subdivision highlighted future congestion issues around Goonoo Goonoo and Scott roads.
“There is obviously no alternative on how we can provide a second access to Calala,” he told Tuesday night’s council meeting, following the development’s approval.
“Calala Ln will continue to operate at an acceptable level until approximately 2040, but … we will need to consider long-term options to address traffic growth.
“I move that council come back with a report that identifies the land that would be required to be resumed in King George V Ave to provide a second travelling lane.”
Residents fought to save the avenue’s historic English oak trees when the Peel River Estate development originally called for the removal of about 47 trees to widen the road.
More than 17,000 locals signed a petition calling for the trees to be protected and high-profile developer Andrew Richardson amended the plans.
The campaign ultimately led to the trees’ heritage listing, but key players in the battle now say Cr Treloar has reopened the incendiary debate at its “sorest point”.
King George V Ave resident and arborist David McKinnon said there were clearly better alternatives to manage future traffic flow around the growing suburb.
“The road cannot go in without excavation and we’ve already established that the moment you excavate you will be damaging the roots systems – and in these particular old trees, that is fatal,” he said.
Councillor Juanita Wilson said the requested report was too narrow in scope and should not focus solely on King George V Ave.
“If there’s consideration around this to impose a levy on ratepayers to support development in this specific area – and it’s very unusual to ask for levies – then I think we need to look at all alternatives,” she said.
“The issue here is to respond to the traffic need that’s being created through the development of Calala.”
But Cr Treloar said there was no point in “looking at options that will add to that traffic congestion”.
Underground power surge – Dual purpose plan
May 27, 2015
A TAMWORTH Regional councillor has proposed putting powerlines underground to prevent power outages caused by bats.
Cr James Treloar suggested putting the powerlines underground would protect the trees and prevent bats from interrupting the power network to homes in Calala and Loomberah.
But Cr Treloar said there was insufficient space to place them underground, and if that step were taken, it would be “wise” to resume sufficient land “if we need a second lane in King George V Avenue in the future”.
“All I’ve asked is to resume enough land to be able to do that,” Cr Treloar said.
Cr Treloar said digging into the ground would damage the root system of the heritage-listed oak trees lining the avenue unless council resumed land.
“We would have no choice; to dig a trench (for the powerlines), we would have to go into private property,” he said.
But Essential Energy community relations northern manager David Crough said placing powerlines underground would be a costly process for consumers.
“Essential Energy has no plans to move electricity infrastructure underground in the King George V Ave area as the significant costs involved would need to be passed onto all customers connected to our network,” Mr Crough said.
“We are happy to consider any third party requests to move electrical infrastructure underground, at their own cost.”
Last Friday, council manager of environment and health Ross Briggs met with the Office of Environment and Heritage to kickstart a plan to temper Tamworth’s bat problem.
The plan was bolstered by $10,000 in government money and could involve changing the habitat around the Peel River bank to make it less appealing to the 40,000 bats currently in Tamworth.
Cr Treloar said resuming land for underground powerlines could have a dual purpose.
He said council had received a report that by 2040, there would be serious traffic congestion on Scott Rd and Calala Lane and a second lane on King George V Avenue would provide a new link to Calala.
He was speaking ahead of last night’s council meeting which was also considering a notice of motion from fellow councillors Juanita Wilson and Mark Rodda that TRC look at alternative options for roads to Calala from the city centre and not just a potential King George V Ave route.
Calala go-ahead – Revamped Peel River 450-block development
By Ann Newling
March 25, 2016
THE old Peel River Estate first proposed for Calala about eight years ago has been resurrected in a new form and this time around is approved to build a 450-block residential development, but without the controversial access along King George V Ave.
The newly branded Outlook property development was launched on Wednesday, and effectively brings back a revised DA that has sat on the backburner for 18 months after developer Andrew Richardson de- clared it was dead and buried and he was walking away from the concept.
This week’s official launch includes the release of the first 31 lots of a three-stage development put together by a new partnership company including Mr Richardson and three Sydney-based partners.
This time around, The Outlook proposes over 450 blocks on a 90-hectare site of land between the Peel River and Goonoo Goonoo Creek backing on to the Gordon and Myrl streets area in Calala.
Under the revamped design, many blocks are bigger, there are more areas of open space and parklands, and the developer claims it will be Tamworth’s first truly green subdivision, with solar energy efficiencies, tree-lined streets and boulevards.
The estate’s original developer Andrew Richardson, who built and owns the Centrepoint retail complex, has re-jigged the plan he first had that attracted a huge wave of opposition over the heritage-listed memorial avenue a few years ago.
This time around, the developer company has more partners and a different design focus – and it’s already been given approval by Tamworth Regional Council to go ahead with the initial earthworks for the estate.
The first stage provides for some 31 blocks off Myrl St in Calala but with future plans for another entry via a roundabout, to be built on Calala Ln next to the council water treatment works.
The roundabout is expected to be built next year to take the increased traffic load as the development of homes there proceeds.
Councillor James Treloar has described The Outlook project as a “very good design,” that had been waiting in the wings for some time since the old Peel River Estate plan was put on hold in late 2014.
“It’s a fairly big compromise, but it was just too hard for him (Mr Richardson) in the initial phase,” Cr Treloar said.
“It’s a big development and it’s a very good development. They have looked at it and done all the right things. They’ve tried to make it environmentally friendly.”
Acting mayor Russell Webb said the change from the original concept of smaller blocks with narrower streets to cater for a completely different style of living had been a major difference, along with the fact that the estate did not depend on an entry through King George V Ave.
“The key part is the parklands and the facilities and the entranceway being significantly different; there are picturesque entrances and greener areas,” Cr Webb said.
Real estate agent Paul Ashcroft said the price of the blocks ranged from $145,000 and they were on the market now.
“This is a very exciting development. This has the most significant areas of open space and parklands offered than in any other estate in Tamworth,” Mr Ashcroft said.
“It has the highest-quality streetscaping, landscaped parks, community facilities and barbecue areas to a quality level that Tamworth has rarely seen.”
Future of trees is still promising
April 27, 2016
STAY GREEN: Council is seeking more information about what impact the powerlines and the lowering watertable are having on the trees.
TAMWORTH’S iconic English oaks along King George V Ave look set to be saved, but Tamworth Regional Council wants more research conducted before it finalises a management plan.
At council’s Tuesday night meeting, the councillors voted to seek more information about the impact the overhead powerlines and lowering groundwater table were having on the trees, before sending the management plan to the Office of Environment and Heritage.
Councillor James Treloar said the powerlines running above the trees forced them to be regularly pruned and needed to be made a higher priority.
“These trees were planted in 1936 or 1937, and, for whatever damn reason, somebody went and put powerlines above them 40-odd years later,” Cr Treloar said.
“That is now the single biggest constraint we have down there.
“I’m nervous about sending this off to the Office of Environment and Heritage without emphasising our number one priority, getting those powerlines underground.
“How can we ask for funding from them to put the powerlines underground, when we haven’t even listed it as the biggest problem?”
Cr Treloar said the water table was about two metres lower now than when the trees had been planted.
“Whilst ever we’ve got powerlines running across the top, whilst ever we don’t have the proper watering facilities, those trees will continue to suffer,” he said.
“We want the English oak trees and we have to work out how we are going to allow them to survive the harsh Tamworth climate.”
Tamworth mayor Col Murray said the conservation management plan would eventually act as a guiding document to ensure the avenue’s future.
“There are some factors contributing to the health of the trees along King George V Ave that we feel haven’t been addressed in the plan,” Cr Murray said.
“With over 200 trees within the avenue, it is a significant piece of history that should be protected.
“We want to ensure that this plan will secure the long-term future of the trees. Is it going to be financial burden on the community?
“Absolutely, but the community has spoken quite strongly they are prepared to accept that burden.”
Councillor Juanita Wilson said some of the badly damaged trees would have to be replaced, but the integrity of the avenue would remain intact.
“This decision will instil some confidence in the public that the trees will not only not be knocked down, but instead preserved,” Cr Wilson said.
Tamworth Regional Council media releases:
New Calala estate open for public comment
Friday, 27 August 2010
A Draft Peel River Estate concept masterplan for a new 600 dwelling housing estate at Calala is currently on display for public comment at Tamworth Regional Council.
The new estate is proposed for a 56 hectare farmland block that sits on behind Calala Lane and the existing tavern and shopping centre and water treatment works and current plans suggest it would link to the CBD via both Calala Lane and King George Ave.
The exhibition includes the concept plan for the Peel River Estates masterplan and also new draft development controls that would guide such a development.
Under the new Tamworth Regional Local Environmental Plan 2009, which is currently still in draft form and waiting for gazettal by the State Government, the Peel River Estates land is due to be re-zoned as general residential from its current farmland status.
TRC general manager Glenn Inglis says the master plan and development controls are expected to generate a fair amount of community interest and a lot of questions because it proposes quite a substantial new development for the city.
“Because of its size and scale, and its impact on new zonings under the LEP, it is being placed on exhibition so this council can get community feedback on it,” Mr Inglis said.
“Before we even consider any potential development application, we want to look at what the issues are. We will respond to those questions and issues and report to the council so it is important that the community has its say.”
The new LEP had already earmarked that Calala farmland zone as a future land release area to satisfy the expansion of Tamworth.
The DCP covers this estate concept to enable integrated subdivision of the housing blocks some of which would be smaller than the residential minimum lot size of 600 square metres and looks at such issues as parking, landscaping, heritage, road design, building design, character and density.
Under the new LEP residential construction including multi dwelling and semi-detached developments would be permitted with consent.
The developers have signalled plans they say respond to the Calala character and it would provide an integrated village development design, with village greens and squares, local shops and community facilities like parks where walking and cycling are supported and vehicle traffic is slower.
They have flagged different housing types from terrances, duplexes, cottages, granny flats and detached dwellings. The plan also provides for the majority of residents to be within a five minute walk (400-600m) of the local village centre and for the design and character of Peel River Estate to “emulate the historic tree-lined King George V Avenue.”
Community comment sought on Peel River Estate
Wednesday 29 February 2012
Tamworth Regional Council last night decided to put the revised Draft Site Specific Development Controls for the proposed Peel River Estate on public exhibition.
Mayor Col Murray said the decision at last night’s Council meeting opens the way for a formal community consultation about the proposed Peel River Estate to take place before a development application is lodged.
‘The public exhibition will start as soon as possible to allow the community to view the draft plan and comment on it,’ Cr Murray said.
The revised Draft Site Specific Development Controls provide a framework for a proposed development of 500 homes on a 57 hectare site at Calala, located behind the existing tavern and shopping centre and the water treatment works.
It includes a proposed link road from the Calala site to Tamworth via King George V Avenue. A number of local residents addressed Council during the community consultation section of last night’s meeting about the proposed Peel River Estate. They raised concerns about possible associated increased traffic flows and the threat to the future of the English Oak trees which line King George V Avenue. They also called for details of Tamworth Regional Traffic Study to be made public.
Council resolved last night to have the Tamworth Regional Traffic Study tabled at the next Council meeting on March 13 to allow its findings to be considered during the exhibition period of the Peel River Estate Draft Site Specific Development Controls.
Cr Murray explained how Council’s decision to go ahead with the public exhibition was part of an ongoing process to ensure ‘the best planning outcomes for the community’.
‘The developer has responded positively to Council’s requests for additional information and has addressed a range of issues raised in the 2010 public consultation process in the revised Draft Development Controls,’ he said. ‘Now the community has its chance to have input on the Draft Development Controls.’
Council decision protects historic avenue
Wednesday 9 May, 2012
They supported a recommendation to support, in principle, the guidelines for the design of estate which were outlined in a report detailing the outcomes of the public exhibition of the revised Draft Development Controls for Peel River Estate. These include aspects such as lot size, fencing, open space, landscaping and providing access for the estate’s first 150 dwellings using local roads (Gordon and Myrl streets and Campbell Road).
Councillors also accepted an amendment moved by Cr James Treloar that a new link road proposal from the developer – submitted to Council on Monday and made public at last night’s meeting by one of the four partners of Peel River Estate, Andrew Wiesener – be considered together with the development application which is expected to go on public exhibition soon.
The future of the trees dominated the debate at last night’s council meeting and the strong level of public interest in protecting the trees drew a crowd of about 60 people.
Five speakers addressed the council meeting about the report under consideration. They were community members Barry John, Stephen Warden, Robin Gardiner and Illy Ystra and Peel River Estate’s Andrew Wiesener.
A desire to protect and nurture the avenue of English Oaks, planted in 1935, was common among them.
Concerns about the future of the trees arose during the 29-day public exhibition of the revised Draft Development Controls for Peel River Estate during March and April. It included a link road from the proposed Calala estate to Tamworth via King George V Avenue which would involving the removal of 47 oak trees to allow the widening of the roadway and later replacing them with advanced trees of the same type.
However, Mr Wiesener last night revealed an alternative link road proposal which would avoid the need to remove any trees. He told the meeting that it was based on maintaining the avenue `as it exists in its current environment’ and using the current roadway in King George V Avenue as an eastbound single carriageway incorporating a cycleway and pedestrian path. A new westbound roadway would be built on the other side of the trees and overhead powerlines would be put underground, he said.
‘It has never been our intention to destroy the amenity of the avenue,’ Mr Wiesener said. ‘To date we have sought to create a new and desirable community in Calala and as a result of the public consultation it’s become clear the initial proposal for the avenue was not acceptable that’s why we decided to propose the alternative.’
The report tabled at last night’s meeting said council received 243 written submissions and several petitions in excess of 6000 signatures in response to the public exhibition. They included 119 individual submissions (several letters from the same person/s) and 124 ‘standard’ letters (again with several from the same person/s).
The overwhelming majority of the submissions and petitions were in the form of an objection to the proposed use of King George V Avenue as a link road to the CBD, particularly the proposed removal of 47 English Oak trees from the avenue. Other issues raised included concerns about the capacity of King George V Avenue and Paradise Bridge to handle the predicted traffic, potential adverse impact on properties and/or commercial viability of agricultural activities near the proposed link road potential impact on local road traffic in Calala.
Now Council has supported the Draft Development Control Plans for Peel River Estate, in principle, it will now move forward on considering a development application which was recently lodged.
The development application is expected to be made public soon – including the alternative road access Peel River Estate has proposed – to allow the community to make comment.
As a matter arising from last night’s debate, Cr Juanita Wilson requested that Council actively pursue having the King George V Avenue trees heritage listed.
Estate plan to go on exhibition
Tuesday 29 May, 2012
A development application for the proposed Peel River Estate at Calala will go on public exhibition next Monday.
The way was cleared for the public exhibition after Tamworth Regional Council voted last week to rescind its decision of May 8 for the development application to be considered in conjunction with a new proposal for a link road.
One of the four partners of Peel River Estate, Andrew Wiesener, announced the new link road proposal at the May 8 Council meeting. He said the design was prompted by the strong level of community interest in protecting the English Oak trees lining King George V Avenue which arose during the public exhibition of the revised Draft Development Controls for Peel River Estate.
The Draft Development Controls included a proposal for a link road from Calala estate to Tamworth via King George V Avenue. It involved the removal of 47 oak trees to allow the widening of the roadway and their later replacement with advanced trees of the same type. However, the new link road concept does not propose the removal of any trees.
A Mayoral Minute to last week’s council meeting revealed Elton Consulting had written, on behalf of Peel River Estate, to ask Council to defer consideration of the alternate road proposal until detailed studies into drainage, utility services and flood planning design had been finalised.
The letter also asked that Council proceed to assess, exhibit and determine the Stage 1 Development Application for 104 lots at Peel River Estate, because they did not rely on the alternate road proposal for access.
‘In order to facilitate the request from Peel River Estate, Council will need to rescind item iv) of Resolution 135/12,’ the Mayoral Minute said. ‘This will enable the current Development Application for 104 lots to be placed on public exhibition over the coming weeks.’ A separate application for the proposed alternate access will be lodged by Peel River Estate and publicly exhibited once the detailed studies have been finalised.
Tamworth Regional Council decided on May 8 not to support the link road proposal which involved the removal of 47 oak trees but instead resolved to ask the developers to find an alternate access road. They also endorsed a recommendation to support, in principle, the Draft Development Controls with guidelines for aspects such as lot size, fencing, open space, landscaping and providing access for the estate’s first 150 dwellings using local roads (Gordon and Myrl Streets and Campbell Road).
Calala subdivision approved
Thursday 13 December, 2012
A development application for a 104-lot residential subdivision at Calala was approved at Tuesday night’s Ordinary Council meeting.
Consent was given for the development, comprising the first three stages of the Peel River Estate, including demolition of an existing dwelling, creation of two public reserves, roads and a residue lot of 45 hectares, subject to a range of environmental and construction controls.
The site of the development is 55.18 hectares of farmland on the northern side of Calala Lane. The lane forms one of its boundaries with the others being Gordon, Myrl and Graham streets and Andrew Avenue.
A report tabled at last night’s meeting said the development application was referred to Council for determination due to the number of written submissions received in response to its public exhibition.
Many of those who made submissions were concerned that the development may require road access to the Tamworth CBD via King George V Avenue. The planner’s report explained that road access to the CBD was not part of the application being discussed, nor was it a proposed condition of consent. Councillors voted in favour of approving the development.
Council supports heritage listing
Wednesday 10 July, 2013
Tamworth residents concerned about the future of the English Oak trees lining King George V Avenue appeared happy when they left last night’s Tamworth Regional Council meeting where Councillors decided to support a proposed listing on the NSW State Heritage Register.
Five residents spoke during the community consultation part of the meeting about how the heritage listing was an important step in protecting the avenue of trees.
Soon after, the Councillors considered a report about a Notice of Intention issued by the NSW Heritage Council on 19 June to list the King George V Memorial Avenue of English Oak trees on the NSW State Heritage Register.
The report looked at the potential implications for Council if the listing was to proceed including the cost of meeting the heritage council’s minimum standards of maintenance and repair for listed items.
It recommended that Council make a written submission giving conditional support to the listing and highlighted a number of issues including the need for financial support from the Heritage Council to manage King George V Avenue.
Councillors agreed with the need to protect the avenue for future generations of Tamworth but did not support the recommendation for replacement trees to be planted on another, wider alignment in order to facilitate future road access.
The recommendation Councillors formally adopted includes making a submission to the public consultation process in support of the proposed listing with conditions, highlighting the following points:
- the heritage value of the Avenue;
- the community interest in the locality;
- the relatively poor state of some of the trees;
- the strategic importance of the road for the city in future years;
- Council’s financial constraints and the need for financial support from the Heritage Council to manage King George V Avenue to the required standard;
- an outline of the exemptions that will be sought as part of the listing including but not limited to pruning, emergency works relating to the removal of dangerous trees and limbs, regular maintenance and mowing, tree assessments and procedures and pest treatments; and
- a request for further information on Council’s future obligations concerning the management of the Avenue, including the development of a management plan, noting that Council responsibility extends only along the Avenue itself and not to the trees on Crown Land.
Council also resolved to investigate opportunities for the resumption of land to allow for the undergrounding of powerlines along King George V Avenue.
There was applause from the gallery after the recommendations were formally adopted. A number of the community members, as they walked from the Council Chambers, expressed their thanks to Councillors.
The NSW Heritage Council has indicated that the trees lining King George V Avenue is the only memorial avenue of English Oaks in NSW dedicated as a living memorial to King George V.
The original planting in 1936 comprised 318 trees. They were positioned alongside the roadway to allow the foliage to interlace overhead when they reached maturity and form a cathedral-like canopy.
There are 181 of the original trees surviving along with 60 replacement trees planted in more recent years.
Report to look at Calala traffic options
Thursday 28 May, 2015
Tamworth Regional Council will have two reports to consider in the near future which are expected to reference King George V Avenue, but the community has been assured neither will result in a change to Councillors’ commitment to preserve its heritage-listed oak trees.
At this week’s Ordinary Meeting, Councillors decided that in addition to the report requested on May 12 regarding the resumption of land adjacent to King George V Avenue, a separate report be prepared to include an evaluation of the options available for increasing future access for traffic to and from Calala.
The resolution came after lengthy discussion of a notice of motion from Councillor Juanita Wilson.
The motion sought to expand the scope of a report requested earlier this month by Council regarding the resumption of land adjacent to King George V Avenue to include an evaluation of the options available for increasing future access for traffic to and from Calala.
However, in the end most Councillors agreed it was best to consider the issue of traffic access to and from Calala in a separate report.
On May 12, Councillors decided to ask for a report regarding the possible resumption of land to place the power lines in King George V Avenue underground to protect the trees and including options for the levying of a special rate to raise approximately $200,000 per year to allow these works to be undertaken. The report will also consider the resumption of sufficient land to accommodate other infrastructure and a second travelling lane that may be developed into the future.
Cr Wilson told this week’s meeting she acknowledged that the primary purpose of the May 12 resolution was to find a solution to having powerlines buried underground and avoid severe pruning of the Oak trees lining King George V Avenue.
However she said the resolution also “reignites speculation that a new roadway may be constructed in the future in the vicinity of the current avenue to carry increased traffic movements to and from Calala”.
Two residents who addressed Council during the community consultation part of the meeting echoed Cr Wilson’s concerns. Other residents advocating the protection of the trees were also at the meeting.
A number of Councillors made it clear they will not support any additional access along the avenue.
Acting Mayor Russell Webb told the meeting Council made a “significant decision” to protect the oak trees last year and “that is not going to change”.
Further work required to secure the future of King George V Avenue trees
Tuesday 26 April, 2016
Council has requested additional research to be undertaken as part of a Conservation Management Plan for the King George V Avenue of Memorial English Oak Trees.
Councillors endorsed the plan at a meeting held tonight, but have requested further clarification around the constraints listed in the plan including overhead powerlines.
Tamworth region Mayor Col Murray said that although the Conservation Management Plan will eventually act as a guiding document to ensure the Avenues future, further research will be completed.
“There are some factors contributing the health of the trees along King George V Avenue that we feel haven’t been addressed in the plan.
“With over 200 trees within the Avenue, it is a significant piece of history that should be protected and we want to ensure that this plan will secure the long term future of the trees.”
Councillor James Treloar led the debate, commending Council officers for the report to date but urged Council to consider more aggressive solutions to aid the long term survival of the trees.
“The constraints listed in the report will determine the ongoing management of the trees and further clarification should be made around the strategy to manage the affect of the overhead powerlines.