Sydney Metro project offered Orchard Hills couple $120,000 less for their property under mandatory takeover due to three trees

“Once government representatives knock on your door, you’re both lost and removed from your area at the same time,” she said.

Victor Xiberras, speaking on behalf of his 76-year-old mother, said he could not understand why Sydney Metro’s latest offer to her was more than 70 percent higher than the original offer. “I thought the show The castle was a joke, but this happened before my eyes,” said Mr Xiberras.

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Several residents questioned why state appraisers had taken into account draft Cumberland Plain conservation legislation to lower the value of their properties.

The study found that evaluators can use future considerations, such as biodiversity, when deducting property values, but do not factor in the potential increase in the land value of the area being converted into a potential commercial and residential area when calculating of the market value.

Sydney Metro chief executive Peter Regan acknowledged the complexity in reasonably compensating landowners uprooted by the major infrastructure project, saying “with perfect foresight the process would be different, but we don’t have perfect foresight”. He added that the difference between initial and subsequent valuations may be due to additional land data becoming available.

“At no point did we try to under- or under-pay,” he said.

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Multiple Orchard Hills families have said they have not received a definitive answer from Sydney Metro as to why 65 hectares needed to be purchased for the new tube station compared to significantly less land for other stations.

Mr Regan said all of the properties acquired were used in the construction phase of the project, but it was not known how much of the land would ultimately be used to develop the surrounding station area, saying: “All or part of that site may or may not be available”.

A Sydney Metro spokesperson said: “As part of the mandatory real estate purchase process, Sydney Metro’s independent appraisers are required to assess market value, including taking into account all relevant information in the market.”

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