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Chrism

The Oaks airfield 'up for sale'

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Hi all,

 

From a report in the AFR:

https://www.afr.com/property/commercial/from-battle-planes-to-offices-or-shops-the-oaks-is-up-for-sale-20190827-p52l3s

 

Opportunity knocks!! (trying to be optomistic)

 

Hopefully for an aviation lover!

 

Don't know where they got the '200 flights a day' figure from!

 

Chris

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Another meeja misrepresentation!

 

The Oaks airstrip lies alongside Werriberri Creek, which, as creeks tend to do, runs along the bottom of a shallow valley that it has cut for itself over the millennia. The residential areas of The Oaks are along top and eastern side of the ridge to the east of the valley. To the west of the strip, the valley wall rises quickly towards another ridge line to semi-rural properties. The Werriberri Creek drains an extensive watershed before reaching the southern boundary of the airfield. After passing the strip, the valley widens somewhat to form a  small floodplain.

 

Although there has been appreciable residential growth in The Oaks in recent years, that growth has been along the eastern ridge. West of the airport, and across the valley from the main township, development to has not occurred for many years.

 

Here is a link to the site and zoning details for The Oaks Airport.  https://maps.wollondilly.nsw.gov.au/Intramaps96Public/

 

As I see it, since the airfield is heritage listed at the moment, and is part of an extensive watershed, I can't see its being consumed by little boxes made of ticky-tacky.

 

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Sorry, this is all we non-subscribers get.

 

image.png

 

Be damned if I'm going to subscribe to a rag in which I read one or two articles a year.

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Here's the article, without photos, if I'm allowed to post it.

 

A former World War II airstrip and one of just a handful of operational airports in Sydney is being readied for sale for the first time in 44 years

Now a privately owned aerodrome, the Oaks airport, which is about 80 kilometres south-west of the Sydney CBD, had been farmland until it was taken over by the RAAF and their Americans counterparts in 1942 and used as an air base during the war.

The land was returned to the farmer after the war but the aerodrome was leased and in 1975 flight engineer Grahame Onus bought the 40 hectare property with his business partner to keep Marshall Airways, a business involved in restoring and maintaining planes, up and running.

It was a venture started by one of Australia's pioneer pilots, Sid Marshall, the first person to fly between Papua New Guinea and Australia in 1934.

“I don’t want to sell but I’m turning 73 next month and I’d rather sell it as an outright sale to someone so they’ve got free reign to do what they and the council and the heritage people want done … and there are so many things that can be done to that place,” Mr Onus said.

"It's really a unique place but I don't have the money and I'm too old. If I was 50 and had the money I'd throw it all into it."

Mr Onus has aviation in his blood. When he was five he started flying model planes and as a boy his uncle would take him crop-dusting in a Tiger Moth near Mudgee.

"When I was a teenager, I would go to Bankstown Airport and fly around in Sid's Douglas DC-2. There were only a few of them made, and then I used to fly around in his Lockheed 10B, and eventually I went on to own both of these aeroplanes," Mr Onus said.

The aerodrome has two parallel grass runways about 900 metres long and a shorter perpendicular one that runs east to west and currently hosts about 200 flights a day.

The entire property is heritage listed but the "heritage item" is the historic runway. It's understood that to unlock the development potential of the land, an improvement would need to be made to the airstrip.

Based on recent sales in the area, it's believed the property could sell for more than $10 million.

 Significant upside

“We are expecting a wide range of interest from local and offshore developers, land bankers, private high net worth families, aviation operators and logistics companies," Savills' NSW director of metropolitan and regional sales Tom Tuxworth said.

Nick Lower, Savills' director of metropolitan and regional sales, said that while a sale ‘‘as-is’’ was possible there was also significant upside for an industrial or residential development, particularly given its proximity to the new Badgery’s Creek Airport.

“Land values across Western Sydney are continuing to accelerate, driven largely by significant levels of demand, a shortage of available serviced land and a lack of investment stock being brought to market,” Mr Lower said.

In Melbourne there's the success story of a moribund airport at Essendon Fields, 11 kilometres from the CBD, which many people expected would close down, but which was brought back to life by Rich Listers Lindsay Fox and Max Beck.

They paid $22 million for the 99-year lease at Essendon Fields in 1998, which then had a working population of 400. It has a working population of 7500 and is benefiting from the growing population in Melbourne's north-west.

It now also functions as a business park, with a DFO shopping centre, offices, supermarkets and a Hyatt Place hotel around the airfield.

 

Cheers

Boggy


 

 

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For anyone interested in getting involved in the planning process which could be about to happen if the land is sold, here are the planning basics:

Location: 995 Burragorang Rd,

The Oaks is listed as The Oaks Landing Ground.

Council: Wollondilly Shire Council 

Area: 16 Ha (So not enough area for a big developer unless surrounding land is packaged)

Zoning RU1, Primary Production Heritage,

The Oaks airfield significance: local (Pub. 23-2 2011) The Supreme Court of NSW, 10 Feb 2011 restricted the height of ant tower on the approved site to 18 metres.

Heritage Items (if any) listed and described in Schedule 5 of the Wollondilly Local Environment Plan (www.austlii.edu.au › download › legis › nsw › consol_reg › wlep2011368)  .  

Lot 1, DP795174 The Oaks Airfield, 955 Burragorang Road is listed in Schedule 5 as local 1238, but I couldn't find any definition (doesn't mean one doesn't exist). If there isn't a definition, any battle could centre around the planning definition of "airfield"

 

If you check the going rate for rural land in the district, and greenfield residential, you'll know what the intent is with that price.

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, boggy said:

Nick Lower, Savills' director of metropolitan and regional sales, said that while a sale ‘‘as-is’’ was possible there was also significant upside for an industrial or residential development, particularly given its proximity to the new Badgery’s Creek Airport.

Never let the facts get in the way of a sales pitch! See my Post #3 for a description of the site.

 

Proximity to Badgerys Creek Airport - approximately 40 kilometres on single lane, each way, rural roads of poor layout and lousy uneven surface.

 

map_sydney_rw.jpg

 

A big image of the location of Badgerys Creek Airport

 

Diagram showing indicative combined Australian Noise Exposure Concept (ANEC) for Stage 1 development (2030)

 

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A bit more background:

 

Graham has had many many years and manny many offers to help "develop" the airfield - never happened.

 

The airfield is very active. Mainly RAA but also GA and gliders (from Camden) outland there.There are two long standing and very active RAA training facilities

 

The only significant (permanent) structures are a two story residence , one fully enclosed shed/hanger with concrete floor, one three sided gravel floor shed/hanger and a small number of smaller garage like structures. There are several temporary structures (no foundations to speak of) ranging from site caravan types to bush sheds.

 

Without a large increase in aircraft movements, which would probably require investment in decent hangars (& related services) first, sealing the two runways or even one is not warranted. The "residents" do a good job in maintaining the two grass strips. 

 

The negatives: The southern end of the airfield/strip(s) is prone to flooding (catchment & poor drainage),although this has not been a problem in recent times (climate change?) The property is poorly fenced with quite frequent livestock incursions and there is a staggering amount of "interesting" equipment/derelict structures and even the remains of two executive jets that would need to be removed.

 

The most recent 25 acre/10 ha (modern home, large enclosed shed, town water & good grazing land), about 6 Km away, sold for $1.7 mil. If this is typical, Grahams property, at the reported 40 ha (sounds too small to me) would only command an estimated $6.8 mil.

 

True it has great potential as a small aircraft airfield (business) which to the right buyer may increase its value but I think $10 ml is a fantasy.

 

 

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Thanks OME - I had forgotten the Badgery development - will definitely impact on aircraft operations in the Sydney Basin, with particular concern for The Oaks & Camden. The current training area is likely to change in shape and size and or its SW boundaries moved out and the "step" heights may be lowered. Worst case  - The Oaks may not be "flyable".

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The parcel of land is 40.62 hectares (100 acres), according to the Wollondilly Shire Council records.

 

At Bringelly, closer to the Badgerys Creek Airport, there is a 2.01 hectare site (with 2 dwellings returning $560 per week in rent) on the market for $4.6 - $5 million. That's $2.3 - 2.5 per hectare. The Oaks Airport is said to be on the market for $10 million, or $250,000 per hectare. Why the lower price? Because the land is not fit for residential nor industrial building. 

 

Not far away, just outside The Oaks is a 28.75 hectare (71 acre) house and land for $3.375 million.

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OME - Ref. Industrial development - I would not agree  with your comment on this.

From a practical point of view, only the potential for a small part of the property, that is prone to flooding, may make it unattractive for development.

The flooding issue could be dealt with, by better drainage into the Creek, combined with some "landscaping" /fill - not a humungus cost. 

The supposed heritage listing may limit options, if allowed at all, to airfield "sympathetic" and there is plenty of room for hanger type development - could easily go the way of Mittagong or Wedderburn. 

Wollondilly Council is notorious for making it hard to get any sort of development approval, great or small.

 

The land/house examples for sale, you gave, just shows what a few kilometres can do for property prices - Location! Location! Location!

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Apparently the heritage listing relates to the runway itself. I can't imagine that there is a concrete strip under the grass there, since The Oaks was a dispersal strip for Sydney's protecting fighters, usually based at Camden, Richmond, Bankstown and Hoxton Park. I don't think that Camden was often used for anything heavy. There was also another dispersal strip at Menangle.

 

Look at Hoxton Park. Any heritage value there went out the door pretty quick after the financiers got the lease.

 

Industrial development requires road infrastructure, and that has to be of a kind that makes heavy vehicle operation economic. The climb up to The Oaks from Glenmore is a fuel gulper for heavy vehicles. Also the sub surface of the road doesn't like 40 tonne behemoths.

 

As for Wollondilly Shire, they want six different forms, in triplicate, to get permission to develop a thirst. Trying to get them to agree with flood mitigation works would be a mighty challenge. Doing the actual work would be a snap.

 

I wonder how much the NIMBY who lives just north of the strip would scream if the noise level rose due to heavy vehicle traffic.

 

 

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My understand is that the original runway was raised & ran between, what is now the two parallel runways, but back when (WWII) were taxiways. Story is that the original runway was "cannibalized" to form up the pubic Burragorang Road (that also cuts across the original full length strip).

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