Georges River Council selling off part of South Hurstville Market Place car park

Shopkeepers and a residents' association are fighting a proposal by Georges River Council to sell off part of the South Hurstville Market Place car park.

Opponents say the move was made without any community consultation and would effectively cut the car park in two.

But Georges River Council says the land is surplus to its requirements and while the community was not consulted, adjoining landowners were.

South Hurstville Residents' Association Inc wrote to the council's general manager Gail Connelly last week after it became aware of plans to sell off part of the car park at 63 Connells Point Road, South Hurstville.

The car park services South Hurstville Market Place, which houses an IGA Supermarket, BWS Liquor & Wine Store and a number of other stores spread over several buildings.

The association claims the council failed to consult the community, which stumbled upon the plans after seeing an online advertisement for the sale of the land. It has accused the council is trying to sneak through the sale.

The 480.6sqm parcel of land is listed for sale as a "development opportunity" and the advertisement states a height limit of 21 metres is allowed.

"We understand that the council regards the car park as surplus land, even though it comprises a parcel of land in the middle of the wider car park," the association wrote.

It said that if the sale went through, it would effectively "divide the remaining car park in two and require a new Connells Point Road entrance" for one section of the car park, which can also be accessed via Greenacre Road.

"The shopkeepers and nearby residents have raised their deep concerns with the association, especially with regard to the way the sale is being handled by council, without any consultative process being undertaken with the local community and the market place business operators," it said in the letter.

"Based on the community feedback, the association is of the view that the proposed sale makes no sense because the car park is integral to the operation of the wider car park and the impact on the business operators and the local community has not been thought out by council."

The association has asked the council to respond to 17 questions, including those relating to its handling of the sale process, whether the land is zoned for community or operational use and if the traffic committee was consulted.

It comes as Georges River Council prepares to sell off a number of car parks, including one servicing Carss Park Shopping Village.

The council has been accused of acting secretively by opponents of the move, including Kogarah Bay Progress Association secretary Elise Borg, who accused the council of keeping the community in the dark over which properties would be sold.

"We have no idea if any of the neighbouring properties or business owners near these properties are aware of the secret plans and the authority that the GM now has to sell these," she said.

South Hurstville Residents' Association Inc president Howard Baron said he had arranged a meeting with shopkeepers on site on Tuesday to discuss the matter and invited ward councillors, and local state and federal MPs.

There was a large turnout but only one councillor, Leesha Payor - from outside the ward - attended.

He said while Georges River mayor Kevin Greene was recently quoted in the Leader as saying the council supported local business, selling off the car park did not support this stance.

"This is not supporting local business. This is destroying local business," Mr Baron said.

A Georges River Council spokeswoman said council had identified the land as surplus to requirements in its adopted Property Portfolio Strategy 2019.

"This strategy identifies underperforming assets that can be sold, with proceeds to be reinvested into income-generating assets, thereby allowing current services levels to the community to be maintained," she said.

She said the council was not required to consult its traffic committee, but did consult its financial sustainability working party and finance and governance committee, before councillors resolved unanimously that the land was surplus.

The council spokeswoman said adjoining owners, or their agents, were directly contacted prior to the sale being advertised.

"Broader community consultation is not required for parcels of land that are classified as operational land," she said.

The council spokeswoman said the land was zoned B2 Local Centre under the Kogarah Local Environmental Plan 2012, which permitted commercial land uses such as shops, offices, service stations and medical centres.

She also addressed access issues if the sale goes ahead.

"Council's land is surrounded by a privately owned car park. There are no existing legal rights of access over council's land to the adjoining privately owned car park," she said.

"The privately owned car park is entitled to vehicle access from both the Greenacre Road and Connells Point Road frontages."