• Tony Bosworth

Former council candidate gets petition up to push for bridge Green Route in bid to derail Purple

An online petition calling for the North Richmond Bridge Duplication Green Route to go ahead - rather than the Purple Route - has gathered almost 500 signatures.

The petition which first appeared yesterday, has been launched by a soon-to-be Redbank resident who stood as a Liberal council candidate in 2016 but wasn’t elected.

In the petition, Marcus Claxton refers to a motion coming up before Hawkesbury full council on Tuesday. He had that information around a day before the matter was made public.

The item – number 124 on the Council’s Business Papers (BP) - was leaked to him, he says, but he won’t say by whom, telling the Post, “no comment”, when asked.

“My understanding is that they [the Council’s Business Papers] are not legally confidential.”

“I probably shouldn’t have gone public yesterday, but I feel so strongly about it,” said Mr Claxton, who admits that if the Purple Route were chosen over the State government preferred Green Route, it would go through his back yard fence at Redbank where he and his family are building their “forever home”.

Mr Claxton says he is registered to speak at Tuesday’s Council meeting against the Council Motion – which is being put up by some councillors who would like the Council to endorse the Purple Route – and says, “he was approached and asked” – he won’t say by whom – “if I wanted to speak at the meeting”.

The Green Route would likely significantly impact residents on Richmond’s Southee Rd, amongst others, given they will have a major new road running parallel with their homes. We asked Mr Claxton how he felt about pushing that route.

“I feel exactly the same way they do if the Purple Route was chosen. We bought a block of land in Redbank and the al fresco area at the bank fence will look up towards Kurrajong. The road [if the Purple Route were chosen] goes through the back fence, so yes I have a vested interest.

“People bought there because of the quality of life on that estate.

“If this happens then what we have put into this house just gets tossed away.”

“My understanding of the maps is the impact on those houses [Southee Rd] will not be as great as they think it will be,” Mr Claxton said.

Marcus Claxton

Mr Claxton’s petition is being strongly endorsed by current Liberal councillor Nathan Zamprogno who took to his own Facebook page yesterday evening – well before the BPs came out today at noon - to say, “I endorse this petition, raised by Hawkesbury resident Marcus Claxton.”

Cllr Zamprogno denies giving Mr Claxton the inside information on the Council’s BPs and says that in any case they are not confidential documents.

“It’s not a secret document. The BPs are supposed to be finalised by close of business Thursday and then all councillors get the agenda. Everybody [the 12 councillors] with a copy would be free to distribute, but it’s a non-issue.”

But some other councillors do not agree.

Independent councillor Emma-Jane Garrow told the Post this afternoon it was about equity and fairness.

“With limited speaking spots in Council – six in total – on a controversial issue, someone registering to speak prior to the public release of the Business Paper does not exhibit fairness,” she said.

“The rationale behind the Business Papers being released at a specific time is based on fairness and equitable access to information for the public.

“All members of the public should be learning of the meeting agenda and having the opportunity to register at the same time.”

But Cllr Zamprogno brushes that aside and says, “it's high time to build the new bridge over the Hawkesbury.

“It's disappointing to see the same small group of vocal activists who don’t seem to have any genuine interest in the best engineering solution, or the concerns of thousands who are stuck in the traffic at North Richmond every day, and whose primary motivation is bashing the Liberal government. Sign the petition today!”

The petition calls for the Green Route to be supported – which is the Coalition State government’s preferred route – and which would see the North Richmond Bridge Duplication route affect many residents – some of whom will lose their homes and parts of their land - in Inalls Lane, Old Kurrajong Rd, Terrace Rd and Southee Rd, amongst others.

Colo Soccer Club grounds will also be affected, as will some of the polo club grounds.

In a Green Route scenario, Southee Rd residents will see a new main road running parallel with their current street which will impact their views and also significantly increase traffic noise.

At a public information session held by Transport for NSW (TfNSW) on Wednesday June 19, over 200 people turned up, swamping the event and catching TfNSW staff off guard.

A show of hands at that public meeting – we’ve been told by a contact at TfNSW they believe there were over 300 people there – had only a handful voting for the Green Route and most of the rest voting for the Purple Route.

But Mr Claxton disagrees.

“I was told by several people [he says he can’t name any of them] at the event that lots of people had come in from other suburbs across Sydney, a lot of those people who were outside. There is a reasonably strong left [political] feeling and sentiment among some of those people.”

We asked how he, or the people who told him, knew where the people outside the hall had come from, which suburbs in particular, and he couldn’t tell us.

Redbank’s growth in residents and vehicle use is one of the reasons the area needs a new bridge – and it’s a development which only went ahead after the developers agreed to fund an additional bridge over the Grose River, which 10 years later still hasn’t been built.

Mr Claxton points to what he says is a very successful new Windsor Bridge, touted by previous Hawkesbury MP Ray Williams as being flood proof and says it took far too long to get planning approvals to build.

“I have spoken to a lot of people and every single person I have spoken to loves the new Windsor Bridge. Most people say it’s great,” Mr Claxton told the Post.

The 'flood-proof' Windsor bridge during March's floods...Pic - Paul Caleo

“While not perfect,” he says in his petition, “and certainly not flood free given that there is a flood plain on one side of it, it has proven itself worth the investment.

“This new bridge should have been completed years ago, however there were significant delays largely due to a vocal minority and a local Hawkesbury council that pandered to them.”

Mr Claxton adds, “unfortunately, once again, this vocal minority is at it again and pushing for a much more expensive route (the Purple route) that has significant negative ramifications for the future of the North Richmond communities.

“On Tuesday evening (29th June) there is a motion that will be put before the Hawkesbury Council for them to resolve to put their support behind this Purple route.

“I will be speaking at this council meeting against this motion, and I have created a Change.org petition that it would be great if you could sign to show your support against the Purple option.

“Rather than the vocal minorities delaying things, this time around, it would be great for the rest of the community to have a voice as well,” he says.

Here’s a link to the petition:


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