Property and Infrastructure Specialists
Optimising a development solution for six underutilised open space reserves in Western Sydney.
Penrith City Council
Erskine Park, Sydney NSW

An urban re-investment project

Through a community initiative called the Public Open Space Reinvestment Project, Penrith City Council identified six surplus land assets with the potential for alternate use.

The six land parcels could be rezoned and reclassified, allowing the council to develop and sell the sites under their highest and best use. 100% of sales revenue would then be re-invested back into the Erskine Park open space network.

Penrith City Council sought an experienced consultant to deliver a business case. APP was engaged to investigate the highest and best use for each site, including cost and revenue analysis to identify the preferred development solutions.

The business case required two to three development concepts plus a justified recommendation for each site. The concepts had to be tested for commercial rigour and delivery feasibility.

Additionally, Penrith City Council was looking for an innovative demonstration project for one of the six sites, aiming to raise the bar and inspire environmentally and economically sustainable development outcomes.

The optimum development solution

Following initial site visits, APP consultants completed a detailed technical constraints investigation. The findings included:

  • Planning permissibility
  • Service availability
  • Ecology
  • Arboriculture
  • Contamination 
  • Site access and traffic considerations
  • Heritage
  • Flooding
  • Topography

Expert analysis

Following the technical investigation, APP experts analysed each site’s development potential and presented their findings and recommendations to the client. For each site, APP tested financial feasibility using the following three scenarios:

  • Sale of the site in its current form
  • Subdivision of the land and sale of vacant lots
  • Subdivision of the land, construction of built form, and sale of house and land packages

The in-depth technical review found that one site had the potential for a demonstration project. APP engaged sub-consultants to research local demand for alternate uses such as childcare, senior living and affordable housing. The research recommended pursuing an affordable housing demonstration project.


APP successfully delivered a final recommendation to Penrith Council based on the optimum development solution for each site. These findings allowed the client to maximise financial return to reinvest in the Erskine Park open space network.

Erskine Park reinvestment project has won two excellence in planning awards by the Planning Institute Australia (NSW) including:

  • Best Planning Ideas - Small Project: Winner - Open Space Reinvestment Project - Erskine Park - Penrith City Council
  • The Hard Won Victory: Winner - Open Space Reinvestment Project - Erskine Park - Penrith City Council

Read more about Penrith City Council's awards.

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