New rezoning proposals from the NSW government could lead to one of the largest residential developments to be built in inner Sydney. If the plans go ahead, high-rise apartment blocks of up to 18 storeys, as well as a new school, could be built over the current Canterbury Racecourse site.

The 35-hectare racecourse is currently owned by the Australian Turf Club, who told Fairfax Media this week that an eventual sale was not off the cards – although they have no immediate plans to sell. The land is currently subject to a 10-year moratorium, meaning the earliest date it can be sold is in 2021.

However, the Department of Planning is already exploring the potential of the land to provide thousands of homes to Sydney’s congested inner west. The government body has already begun a preliminary planning process to evaluate the area’s potential capacity to house a community of residential apartment towers between three and 18 storeys in height.

Government interest in Canterbury Racecourse follows last month’s revision of a Sydenham to Bankstown development strategy. The proposed strategy includes an increased frequency to train services along the corridor, and a related push for denser residential housing stock in the serviceable area.

Urban consultancy firm, JBA, has included the racecourse as part of a “priority precinct” that has been identified around Canterbury station. Already, 4,000 new homes are expected to be built in this area by 2036 due to zoning changes. If the Canterbury Racecourse sale and subsequent rezoning goes ahead, it could add thousands of new homes to this estimation. The racecourse site has also been identified as a potential location for a new school.

The Department of Planning says that there is currently no timeline for a Canterbury Racecourse masterplan. Once a masterplan is drawn up, however, it will be made available for public comment.