From Monday 16 March to Sunday 12 April 2020, Council sought feedback from the community on the Belmore Park landscape concept plan. Thank you to everyone who had their say!
Council received 247 responses to an online survey asking for community feedback on the plan. The majority of respondents were happy with the plan presented by Council, with many respondents believing that the changes would be great for the local cricket community as well as other park users.
To find out more about what we heard, please see below or download from the resource library.
Feedback received from the community and other stakeholders during stage one has been used in the development in the draft master plan.
A master plan is a document which outlines the long-term vision for the development of an open space area. It aims at ensuring the site meets the needs of the community now and into the future.
Belmore Park (which includes Richie Benaud Oval) honours the champion cricketer and much-loved personality who grew up in Parramatta. Given the prominence of this great Australian to the local area, it is proposed to continue to honour Richie Benaud through the development of this site.
In 2018, Council resolved to commit funding in the 2019/20 Operational Plan for the development of a master plan for Belmore Park. Council also resolved to establish a turf cricket wicket at Belmore Park, with agreement to enter into a Licence Agreement with the Parramatta District Cricket Club for use of the facility.
The draft Parramatta Community Infrastructure Strategy (2019) also recommends a master plan and full redesign of Belmore Park. The Strategy identifies Belmore Park as a ‘key project’ to support healthy high density living.
Richie Benaud Oval is the name of the large open playing field in Belmore Park. In 1962, Council resolved to name the newly completed field in honour of Richie Benaud. The champion cricketer and much-loved personality grew up in Parramatta, where he played cricket for the Central Cumberland District Cricket Club, which would later become the Parramatta District Cricket Club.
It is proposed that Belmore Park will be upgraded to become a Premier cricket venue suitable to host Sydney Grade cricket matches. Proposed cricket facilities include:
- Enlargement and reconfiguration of Richie Benaud Oval
- A central turf wicket
- Sports field flood lighting
- Sports field irrigation
- An electronic scoreboard
- Sight screens
- Spectator seating
- New sports pavilion building including change rooms, club storage and facilities, Hall of Fame, a kiosk, community rooms, public restrooms etc.
- Turf cricket practice facility (nets)
- Synthetic cricket practice facility (nets) with roof structure for all weather use
- New park maintenance facility and public amenities (toilets)
Upgrades to facilities will also include provision for winter sports competitions and use by other sporting groups. Along with the sports facility upgrades, it is proposed to improve park amenities for the local community including:
- Pedestrian path network
- A new ‘district’ level playground
- New park furniture including seating and picnic facilities
- Outdoor fitness stations
- Landscape planting
- Signage/artwork to celebrate local history.
‘Shovel ready’ projects are proposals which are ready to build. As the master plan is a strategic document only, there is still a lot of detailed design work to be undertaken. Council will undertake this detailed design (including construction drawings) so works can be implemented immediately as funding becomes available.
Grant funding schemes from both state and federal government, and sporting bodies often arise which support the development of community infrastructure. These schemes typically have strict time frames and ‘shovel ready’ projects can be advantageous when applying for funding. Council will work in collaboration with community groups (e.g. sporting clubs) to identify and apply for relevant funding opportunities as they arise.
The implementation of the entire master plan is currently unfunded. Council will look to fund the development of the site from a variety of sources including Section 94 contributions, other government agencies and governing sporting bodies. The implementation plan and budget estimate included in the master plan will be used when applying for funding. The master plan will be delivered in stages as funding becomes available.
The master plan recommends a review of existing car parking at Belmore Park with an aim to increase capacity (i.e. increase number of available spaces). As the master plan provides strategic guidance only, existing car parking will be reviewed during detailed design phases. Any addition or alteration to existing car parking will require approvals by relevant authorities to ensure current design and safety standards are met.
The car parking review will examine potential improvements to existing infrastructure and include the addition of spaces where possible. Council does not propose to reduce the number of car parking spaces at Belmore Park.
The configuration of Richie Benaud Oval has been amended as a result of more detailed site investigations and feedback received during stage one community engagement. Key outcomes of the revised configuration include:
- Allows for retention of existing tree planting on Pennant Hills Road
- Known archaeological sites are avoided
- The full-size football field is located entirely off the turf wicket. This will improve summer/winter sports programming and player safety
- Increased circulation space between winter sport fields to accommodate spectators and improve player safety
- A geometric shape which will allow for traditional perimeter fencing that will complement and enhance the current aesthetic of the park
The community will have access to the playing field and synthetic practice wickets (nets). The turf wickets (playing wickets and practice wickets) will be restricted to authorised club use only.
There are a number of factors which will be considered in the development of the master plan. These include (but are not limited to):
- Existing site conditions including topography, hydrology and vegetation
- Community feedback
- Access to and around the site
- Sports facility requirements and standards
- Current and future car parking requirements
- Public safety and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles
- Heritage listed items, both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous
- Current and future population trends
- Council, State and Federal strategic documents and planning requirements
- Contaminated landfill
City of Parramatta acknowledges the Traditional Owners of this land, the Dharug people. For over 60,000 years, the area comprising present day Parramatta has been occupied by the Burramattagal people who played a significant role in the parks’ current location. To assist in the development of the master plan, Council has engaged a heritage consultant to provide both Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal heritage reports for Belmore Park.
Proposed improvement works detailed in the master plan seek to avoid all known heritage sites. The master plan also recommends the site’s history be highlighted and celebrated through elements such as interpretive signage and artworks.
All proposed works will be completed in accordance with Local and State Government regulations and will follow advice from local Indigenous groups.
City of Parramatta engaged a specialist licensed consultant to conduct soil sampling in Belmore Park during September 2019. The playing fields at Belmore Park (Richie Benaud Oval) were constructed in the 1960’s and 1980’s when it was common to use fill material containing fibro products. Fibro products can be a source of asbestos, a now-banned material previously used in thousands of building products.
All investigations were undertaken in accordance with current environment, health and safety standards and guidelines, with measures undertaken to ensure public safety during the works. Soil test results indicated that asbestos contamination was isolated to the southern boundary of Richie Benaud Oval adjacent to the embankment. Due to the material being buried and maintenance of the grass cover layer across Richie Benaud Oval (playing field), the risk of exposure is considered low unless the soil is disturbed.
Areas containing buried asbestos material have been covered and fenced to prevent public access.
Council has implemented a series of works programs and remedial actions which are mitigating the risk of buried material becoming exposed. Asbestos can only pose a risk to human health if it can become airborne, and while buried asbestos generally is a very low risk, it is important that Council continues to identify sites where asbestos materials may be present so actions and safeguards can be put in place to ensure public safety.
Council will continue to work in consultation with the EPA, SafeWork NSW and NSW Health, and seek advice from specialists to secure the most appropriate long-term treatments for the site.