Development Process and
Compulsory Acquisition

The Marsfield Common proposal was first submitted to Council on 18 May 2022, addressing all the matters raised by Council officers in pre-lodgement discussions and was supported and praised by Ryde Council officers in the original planning stages. While Council officers worked to meet the timeframes set out in the relevant legislation, Ryde Council did not meet the statutory deadlines it was required to meet to consider the planning proposal. The proposal was subsequently submitted to the NSW Government via the Department of Planning and Environment for consideration by the relevant Sydney District Planning Panel in December 2022. The Panel refused the application on the basis of advice from Council that the site was likely to be acquired for public open space purposes in the near future.

In October 2022, NRRSL also took the preliminary steps to prepare a State Significant Development Application for the redevelopment of the TG Millner site for seniors housing. As part of this process, the Department of Planning and Environment has issued Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs). This process provides for the seniors housing application to be assessed by the Department with a subsequent decision to be made by the Independent Planning Commission and/or the Land & Environment Court.

On 21 November 2022, Ryde Council initiated a non-exclusive negotiation process to purchase the TG Millner site from the North Ryde RSL. Both North Ryde RSL and Eastwood Rugby Club are open to Ryde Council acquiring the site for the community at fair market value. If, however, no agreement for Council to purchase the TG Millner site before 22 May 2023, Council may proceed with the compulsory acquisition process. The compulsory negotiation period has since ended without any agreement being reached. In May 2023, Ryde Council wrote to the Minister for Local Government seeking permission to issue a PAN (Property Acquisition Notice) and compulsorily acquire the site.

On 12 April 2024, the NSW Government refused Ryde Council’s request to seek to compulsorily acquire TG Millner Field. The NSW Government’s decision was made because Ryde Council, despite being provided with every opportunity to do so, could not provide any strategic justification for the proposed acquisition of the site, nor does it have the monies required to acquire and regenerate TG Millner Field. In this regard, the Minister for Local Government noted that Council’s flagship Ryde Central project has stalled and is a hole in the ground, while Council officers identified a $224M shortfall in Council’s capital budget in November 2023.

The privately-owned TG Millner site cannot stay as it is as it continues to impact the North Ryde RSL Community Clubs ability to support its members and the wider community. Our intention is to now resubmit this planning proposal for determination by the relevant consent authorities.

This proposal was developed together with partners Eastwood Rugby and would provide the missing piece for families who cannot or do not wish to live in high-rise apartments. Our organisations are trying to leave a legacy for the community and our members reflected in the unprecedented level of community benefits in the Marsfield Common proposal.

Frequently
Asked
Questions

Is TG Millner Field public land?

No, TG Millner Field is privately owned land.
Eastwood Rugby and North Ryde RSL have spent the past 30+ years trying to ‘Save TG Millner Field’. The redevelopment of TG Millner Field will secure the future of Eastwood Rugby and North Ryde RSL and their predominately local 30,000 members.

Will Marsfield Common be more high-rise density apartment complexes?

No, the Marsfield Common proposal for TG Millner Field does not contain any apartment blocks or high-rises. The Marsfield Common proposal is the same density as the surrounding streets. The proposal is well-supported by the Ryde community – the main opposition is political and comes from State MP Jordan Lane and current Mayor Trenton Brown.

How does the community stand to benefit from this redevelopment?

The Marsfield Common proposal delivers over $25 million in community benefits – including affordable housing, the planting of 570 new trees and a new 1 hectare public open space.

Why can’t Ryde Council purchase TG Millner Field?

Ryde Council does not have the money to purchase TG Millner Field and would have potentially been required to spend over $80 million of ratepayers’ money to compulsorily acquire TG Millner Field if they had been granted approval by the NSW government.

Ryde Council has never been in a position to acquire TG Millner Field – Council officers advised Councillors in April 2024 that Council may not be a ‘going concern’ and ‘risks being placed into administration’ next financial year. It is for this reason that the NSW Government refused Council’s compulsory acquisition request.

Will the development of TG Millner Field mean a loss of public open space in Ryde?

No, the Marsfield Common proposal will increase public open space in Ryde. Privately-owned TG Millner Field is not public open space now. The Marsfield Common proposal will actually increase public open space in the Ryde LGA through the dedication of a new 10,000m² fully embellished public park on the site.

Did both major political parties make a promise to ‘save’ TG Millner Field at the last NSW State election?

No, the State Labor Government and the Liberal Opposition never made any formal election promises to ‘save’ TG Millner Field. The NSW Parliamentary Budget Office (an independent body) produces costings of each party’s election commitments prior to every NSW election. There is no mention of any promises relating to TG Millner Field in either party’s election commitments.

Why can't the site remain as is?

The site, which is privately owned, has reached the end of its current life in terms of current uses, and it needs to be renewed to continue to deliver benefits to two community-based organisations and to the local community.

Marsfield is a thriving suburb of Sydney – the demographics and needs of the local community have vastly changed in recent decades. 68% of the local community derives its ancestry from countries where the sport of Rugby is rarely even heard of. Only 4% of Eastwood rugby players live within the Ryde LGA.

For example, before Covid, the playing fields at TG Millner were used only 20 times by local community sporting clubs or schools in 2019, excluding the use by the Eastwood Rugby Club. Of the three fields at TG Millner, the third, full-sized rugby field has not been used at all for many years now.

Covid has also had a significant impact on the sustainability of the North Ryde RSL Club, which has also worked hard to be viable for a long time.

Marsfield Common sought to revitalise the TG Millner site and reconnects today’s community to the site, and offered over $25million in community benefits through the Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) including a 1 hectare public park, and $5 million in affordable key worker housing.

Why did Eastwood Rugby Club and North Ryde RSL prepare this proposal?

Marsfield Common is a Planning Proposal that has been developed by Eastwood Rugby and North Ryde RSL to redevelop TG Millner Field, creating 132 low-rise, terrace homes and a new public park for the surrounding community.

Eastwood Rugby and North Ryde RSL have gone to great lengths to keep TG Millner Field alive, but TG Millner Field is no longer strongly relevant to the community that surrounds it – a decline initially identified by Eastwood Rugby in 1990 and reflected in the decline of the licensed Club leading up to 2000 which has continued to the present date.

While people might be sad that Eastwood no longer intends to play rugby at TG Millner, the fact is that Eastwood Rugby (whose long-term patron is Rob Millner – the grandson of TG Millner) made a decision in 2017 to move to a new location within the 58 hectare Fred Caterson Reserve in Castle Hill, which is closer to their main player base. Only 4% of Eastwood’s current players and participants are from the Ryde area.

In conjunction with The Hills Shire Council, Eastwood Rugby will develop a modern, purpose-built Club playing base that will include three high-quality fields with unimpeded daytime and evening usage, new club facilities, grandstand, broadcast-quality lighting and ample parking.

The development of Marsfield Common, founded upon a modest proposal from two longstanding Ryde community organisations, would have helped Eastwood Rugby to build and maintain its new grounds, grow the game of rugby in Sydney and ensure the club a healthy future for years to come. The success of the proposal would have also enabled North Ryde RSL to enhance its offering at its current North Ryde location and jointly deliver with Eastwood Rugby a quality legacy for the local Marsfield community.

What community amenities are planned for the common space/community area in Marsfield Common?

In the Marsfield Common proposal, approximately 15% (1 hectare) of the currently privately-owned TG Millner Field will be dedicated to the community as designed, maintained and well-lit public open space for low-impact recreation purposes, including what the local Council and the local community believed appropriate.

The initial plans include 2,000m2 of varied play space for all ages is proposed, including a seniors’ exercise park and walking loop, together with an additional 700m2 of multi-purpose court space for badminton, volleyball and basketball, permanent table-tennis courts etc. All options being considered will be less intensive than rugby game days and the final design would have reflected the views of the community and Ryde Council’s policy objectives, including more contemporary recreational spaces in the local area.

Does the proposal include the provision of key-worker, affordable housing?

Yes, Marsfield Common includes a $5M contribution for the provision of affordable key worker housing within the Ryde LGA.

What happens next for this proposal?

On 12 April 2024, the NSW Government officially declined permission to the City of Ryde Council to commence a compulsory acquisition process of TG Millner Field site from the North Ryde RSL. The Minister’s decision recognises the fact that Ryde Council has a $224M shortfall in its capital budget and simply does not have the capacity to purchase TG Millner. At a time when Ryde Civic Centre is still a hole in the ground, it would be financially irresponsible to purchase this privately-owned land at ratepayers’ expense. We hope this decision will re-focus Council on other major projects and deliver a Civic Centre the Ryde community deserves.

The privately-owned TG Millner site cannot stay as it is as it continues to impact the North Ryde RSL Community Clubs ability to support its members and the wider community. Our intention is to now resubmit a planning proposal for determination by the relevant consent authorities.

Who is responsible for the design of the Marsfield Common?

North Ryde RSL and Eastwood Club have engaged a high-quality consultant team to develop a vision for the TG Millner Site, led by DKO architecture (www.dko.com.au) and Ethos Urban planning (www.ethosurban.com), both of whom have extensive experience in complex Masterplan proposals of this nature.

DKO has won sustainability awards and is known for taking particular care in integrating the natural surrounds with their housing projects, such as their Orion Braybrook community of contemporary townhouse terraces laid out across 11 hectares of landscaped streetscapes and pocket parks.

Ethos Urban was involved in the redevelopment of Putney Hill, which is regarded as a leading example of the regeneration of aging ‘urban infill’ infrastructure.

The project is managed by Winston Langley, a NSW-based property development and advisory company with a history of working in an open manner with a range of stakeholders on urban regeneration projects of this nature, including the redevelopment of the 10 hectare Cronulla Sharks project.

North Ryde RSL and Eastwood Rugby Club have partnered with these industry leaders with the overriding intent of working with Council officers, Councillors, the community, and State Government to deliver a landmark development outcome that is appropriate for the TG Millner site and local area.

These longstanding community organisations wanted to avoid a situation seen on other sites across Sydney where a community Club presents a reasonable development proposal for redundant landholdings, only to see the proposal rejected because of what is perceived at the time as a significant change of use.

Given the limited resources of community Clubs, what has typically ensued in similar circumstances elsewhere in Sydney is the relevant Clubs going broke, sites sitting dormant for some years, and/or major developers coming in later with much larger proposals than what was initially proposed.

North Ryde RSL and Eastwood Rugby are determined that this not occur in relation to the TG Millner site.

What are the environmental impacts of the proposal?

Currently, the privately-owned site sits largely unused as an open field and occasional parking lot, while upkeep of the grounds wastes significant water resources. We believe this area has the potential to better serve both the community and the environment.

The NSW Government has stated that to create a sustainable, liveable and cool Greater Sydney, we need trees and green cover. In their commitment to more trees, cleaner air and more beautiful places to live, the Government has made a commitment to plant five million trees by 2030.

The development of Marsfield Common will include the planting of approximately 570 new trees where the open football fields currently stand. This will generated circa 65% tree canopy cover across the precinct (60% greater than State Government requirements), providing shade for families and friends to enjoy the new public space in comfort.

It was also a priority to retain trees that already stand on the site which we have identified as high value to the local environment and community. Our pre-development tree assessment has identified a number of high-value trees that will be successfully integrated into the expanded tree canopy for the site.

In addition, the project included a wide range of sustainability and Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) initiatives relating to water, stormwater management, solar, energy-efficiency, environmental and waste management matters.