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The Issue

In 2015 the area know as the “Lower Holt”, which is a heavily forested section of land in Mittagong that borders Range Road to the west, Colo Street to the north and Evans Street to the east, was designated as a “Land for Wildlife” area for rescue and protection of native animals.

Frensham now plans to build accommodation for 72 students in the Lower Holt, This development will require the removal of 4.2 hectares (over 11 acres) of forest, including 249 of the 515 trees, to make way for six accommodation huts, a large common room and two staff accommodation buildings. 

As concerned members of the Southern Highlands community we wish to support Wingecarribee Council’s resolution to defer determination of DA20/0747 by Frensham School due to significant community concern over the potentially devastating environmental impacts of the proposal and their requirement for the Applicant to meet with the community groups and refer the DA to the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). To our knowledge neither of these actions have taken place. In fact, the school have refused all community attempts to engage with the community since Council’s resolution. 

While we are not against Frensham School constructing an outward bound facility on their lands, we strongly request that the DA in its current form be refused.  This request is made on the basis of the serious and permanent environmental impacts that would result and that there are a number of viable alternative locations for the facility on the school properties, one being a cleared area immediately to the east of the current proposed project site which would avoid the destruction of 249 trees and numerous habitats for treasured wildlife.  

The Situation so far    

1.    23 December 2019 – Frensham submitted Development Application to the Wingecarribee Shire Council. DA Tracker 20/0747.

2.    22 January 2020 – Neighbour Notifications were sent with details of Frensham’s DA.

3.    9 September 2020 – the DA came before Council with a planning recommendation for approval.

4.    9 September 2020 – After public outcry the Council at an Ordinary Meeting voted to defer the DA and requested Frensham to consult with members of the community.

5.    21 September 2020 – Letter from community members to Frensham requesting a meeting and received NO response.

6.    23 April 2021 – Letter from community members to the new headmistress requesting a meeting to discuss the Lower Holt project.

7.    7 May 2021 – Frensham declined an invitation to discuss the matter with members of the community.

8.    28 May 2021 – Letter from Lawyers for the Council advising that Frensham had taken the matter to the Land and Environment Court to have the Councils decision to defer overturned.

9.    25 June 2021 – Hearing before the Land and Environment Court.

10.  29 June 2021 – the conciliation proceedings are now “terminated”, because the parties were not able to reach an agreement. 

11. 12-14 October set as the hearing date in the Land and Environment Court.  Winifred West Schools v Wingecarribee Shire Council.

For more information visit

Wildlife to be removed

11 acres of the habitat corridor is to be cleared to create an Asset Protection Zone (APZ) as the building site is in a Flame Zone. 

The wombats who were released in this area, with the full support from Frensham, and other wildlife are to be “moved”.  

This is despite the NSW Department of Environment warning. “A relocated wombat will most likely be killed by predators or other wombats protecting their territory”. 


Lower Holt Species List

Prepared by Tania Clancy

Conservationist, Citizen Scientist, Educator and registered Wildlife Carer. Open Species List


Prepared by Tania Clancy

Conservationist, Citizen Scientist, Educator and registered Wildlife Carer. Open Species List


In the News

Pick up you copy at local newsagents in Southern Highlands

An opponent of a new educational facility at Frensham in Mittagong says the school’s founder Winnifred West would be turning in her grave if she knew about the proposal.

Read more


Help us spread the word

Letter for public to write to the Frensham Board

Click here  to download a sample letter to edit and send to

Ms Elizabeth Stuart,
Chair, Frensham Schools


Ms Sarah McGarry
Head, Frensham Schools

Please bcc: so we have a paper record to present to the school if necessary.

Green rectangle shows Lower Holt is part of the Primary Biodiversity Corridor
Frensham plans to clear 11 acres of the habitat corridor for "bush cabins"
Green triangle shows Lower Holt is Category 1 Riparian Zone