Westfield builds new police station in exchange for old courthouse site at Miranda

The Leader, December 22, 1987.

The Leader, December 22, 1987.

Updated

A controversial land swap between Westfield and the state government in 1987 enabled Miranda Fair to expand across Kiora Road.

The deal resulted in the giant retail corporation acquiring the site on the south-eastern corner of Kiora Road and Kingsway, which had earlier been earmarked for a courthouse and police station.

In return, Westfield agreed to build a new $2 million police station in Willock Avenue.

The government owned land was originally the site of Miranda Public School, which moved when Miranda Fair was built.

In 1987, the land was occupied by a temporary police station in a demountable building and a large a dirt car park, used by shopping centre customers.

The adjoining Congregational Church was also relocated further down Kiora Road to its present site on the southern side of the train line to facilitate the Westfield expansion.

The land swap started with the government calling tenders and narrowing the bidders down to two - Westfield and a company called Enable Enterprise.

Police Minister George Paciullo's announcement that Westfield had been successful was a bombshell to Enable Enterprise director Graham Nunn, who said his company hadn't been officially advised.

Mr Nunn said Enable had planned a $200 million complex on the site, including a department store, 100 specialty shops and parking for 200 vehicles.

Sutherland Shire Council was also caught unawares by the deal, which was done three months before the 1988 state election at which Labor was swept from office.

The council had wanted the police station built in Gibbs Street, on the other side of train line, and planned for Willock Avenue to be widened as part of a ring road system.

Shire president Michael Tynan said the council was not consulted before the land swap decision and had been lumbered with a poor choice of site.

"I do have the feeling we have been steamrolled by the former state government," Cr Tynan said when councillors reluctantly approved the police station development application in May 1988.

Cr Tynan had long been concerned about the future of the Kiora Road / Kingsway site, which had been rezoned for mixed residential and commercial.

In 1984, he said Miranda was being "choked with traffic" and more car parking was needed.

Police were happy with the prospect of a new station. "We are currently working under very poor conditions," said Senior Sergeant Arthur Jones. "We haven't got an interview room or cells."

The Westfield expansion, including a cinema complex, opened in 1992.

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