December 4, 2022

A rugby club wants to destroy its own local sports fields in a bold plan to build houses and a park because residents don’t use them.

North Ryde RSL and Eastwood Rugby have proposed plans to build 132 terraced houses and a private park on the privately owned TG Millner Field in Marsfield.

A spokesman said the RSL and the rugby club had the right to build seniors’ lives according to existing planning rules, but the proposal would be better for the community.

He said the rugby fields were not of interest to new residents from China, India, Korea and the Philippines, where “rugby is not popular”.

Developers behind the plans for ‘Marsfield Commons’ claim the site has reached the end of its current life in terms of current use and needs to be revamped (photo, an artist’s impression)

Liberal MP for Ryde (right) and Mayor of Ryde Jordan Lane (left) have opposed the plans

Developers behind the ‘Marsfield Commons’ plans argued that the site had reached the end of its life and needed to be revamped.

“Sixty-eight percent of the local community draws its ancestry from countries where the sport of rugby is even rarely heard of,” a statement on its website states.

“Only four percent of Eastwood rugby players live in the Ryde LGA.”

However, Liberal MP for Ryde Victor Dominello and the mayor have publicly opposed the plans, with the local member decrying the plans as ‘totally unacceptable’.

Mr Dominello said Sydney’s publicly accessible open space was invaluable and that once built there was no getting it back.

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“That’s why we must fight to save TG Millner Field for future generations,” he told the… Sydney Morning Herald.

“If supporters of the plan no longer find rugby popular, then we must work together to accommodate other sports.”

Ryde Mayor Jordan Lane was also wary of the development, telling the paper that TG Millner was a “premiere field worth preserving.”

The website for the proposed plans explained that the demographics and needs of the local community “have changed tremendously in recent decades.”

A spokesperson said the RSL and the rugby club have the right to build seniors’ lives according to existing planning rules and claimed there is a lot of support in the community (pictured, the plans)

“Unfortunately, TG Milner, which is privately owned, is no longer highly relevant to the community around it,” it reads.

TG Millner Field has reached the end of its life in the use of rugby and licensed clubs and needs to be revamped to bring benefits to the local community.

“Local schools have only used the field ten times in the last three years, and local rugby clubs at Ryde, Beecroft and Central Eastwood have only used the fields twelve times in three years, including youth rugby.”

The proposal promises to deliver state-of-the-art and site-appropriate housing, recreational spaces for the local community, more canopies, vegetation and landscaping, and a new public park.

North Ryde RSL and Eastwood Rugby have also pledged a $1 million contribution towards the development of a synthetic pitch in the Ryde area.

“This $1 million contribution to a synthetic field in the LGA will provide an optimal year-round playing surface for local children of all ages,” the website states.

TG Millner Field is only used by players from the Ryde-Eastwood Hawks rugby league club on Sundays.

However, football operations manager Michael Frain said the local club would have nowhere to play if the development was given the green light.

The proposal is in the hands of city officials, many of whom have previously voted against removing greenery in the LGA.

The mayor said Ryde would need 13 additional sports ovals by 2036 to keep up with demand and population growth.

“Decimating one of our largest existing open spaces will significantly reduce this cause,” said Mr Lane.