What a strong response to our community meeting last weekend about the NSW Government plans to sell off public land to developers around Redfern and Eveleigh. Our community is united in calling for targets for affordable housing, open space, recreational facilities, schools, healthcare and active transport before there is any sell off of public land to developers.
This iconic area has been home to working people since the 19th Century and should continue to do so. Our history is told in the buildings, homes and shared memories of this place – and our heritage must not be bulldozed for developers to profit.
Representatives of REDWATCH, Friends of Erskineville, the Alexandria Residents Action Group, the North Eveleigh Working Group, trade unions and specialists in rail and labour history took part in the meeting, as well as local residents and concerned citizens. Greens Councillor Irene Doutney was also in attendance.
One outcome of the meeting was a submisison to the Urban Growth NSW Central to Eveleigh plan. The submission raises many of the concerns that were discussed at the meeting - you can read it below.
SUBMISSION TO URBAN GROWTH – C2E - NORTH EVELEIGH ISSUES
To whom it may concern,
On Saturday 28 November 2015 a community meeting of about 40 people was convened by Jenny Leong, Member for Newtown, in response to concerns raised in the community about the privatisation of Australian Technology Park, plans by Urban Growth NSW to develop the Central to Eveleigh corridor – particularly recent announcements about the North Eveleigh site, and the threat to our neighbourhoods and communities are a result of greedy developers circling.
This was a public meeting, with representatives of REDWATCH, Friends of Erskineville, the Alexandria Residents Action Group, the North Eveleigh Working Group, trade unions and specialists in rail and labour history as well as local residents and concerned citizens participating. Greens Councillor Irene Doutney was also in attendance.
The meeting passed a unanimous resolution to make a submission to the Urban Growth North Eveleigh consultation process in support of the “Minimum Requirements” outlined with this submission on page 3.
The baseline technical studies to establish the opportunities/constraints for this site have not been done, or they have been buried, as they would demonstrate how bad the outcomes will be. There have been numerous plans, master plans, concept plans, and token consultations done on this site since 2001 – public submissions have been ignored. Each successive scheme has ramped up the density and height from those proposed earlier which were more compatible with the area, but still double the prevailing density (current Nett FSR of 1: 1 to 2: 1 whereas the Concept Plan used the Gross site area), to now many times that. Now 20 storeys is considered OK, as it is next to the busiest railway line in the city!
For example, plans for the proposed buildings have not been generated to demonstrate they meet the requirement of SEPP 65 in terms of basics like solar access and privacy (admission by the architect at the ATP Workshop). The building heights have been doubled and trebled as if height has no impact on the amenity and these standards. The so called North Eveleigh Concept Plan was signed off by the Department of Planning in camera with no discernible response to community issues, including the unanimous resolutions of the public meeting on 21 May 2012. The City of Sydney’s requirements have also been largely ignored; a matter for the developer and the DA apparently! But it is evident that the current process will pre-determine outcomes without adequate public scrutiny or technical evaluation; leading to poor outcomes. We seek best outcomes in terms of the public interest for the existing and future community.
We learn from our mistakes or we are destined to repeat them. Many of the post WW2 housing estates built here and in Europe & North America have been acknowledged mistakes and replaced by low and medium rise high density housing. Even the Sydney Morning Herald on the morning of this meeting reported an SJB Study for Minister Stokes promoting the efficacy of modern terrace housing as a better model for urban intensification. The lack of memory is breathtaking.
Bruce Lay and Warwick Neilley
On behalf of those present at the Community Meeting on 28 November 2015
PLANNING STANDARDS – MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
The baseline standards applied to other inner urban sites including Victoria Park, Green Square, Harold Park, and the Ashmore Estate in terms appropriate height, density, open space, the public domain, access and parking, as well as community facilities and environmental criteria must apply.
Affordable housing - 30% of housing should meet IWHA affordable criteria
Community infrastructure including childcare and schools – at a minimum there should be a childcare centre in the Clothing Store next to the park, with a monetary levy social infrastructure including schools to meet the needs of the expected 2000 new residents.
Cultural facilities – this community supports the Carriageworks and the growth of an arts hub on this site. Apart from a childcare centre the balance of the Clothing Store should be allocated to cultural facilities as proposed by the Director.
Open Space – the levy of 6.6m/capita for open space use in the City of Sydney including to Harold Park and Green Square should apply – this is nearly four times what is currently on offer – demonstrating the excessive density. The 2008 park committed by Frank Sartor was the whole of the area west of the clothing store, serving a much lower population. The 5 storey block intruding into this space should be set back. The existing park serving this area Hollis Park is about 5000m2 – about 50% of this Park is now fenced off for renewal of the grass an evidence of overuse – the current NE proposal will double the population of this neighbourhood.
Density – the prevailing density in the area is a Nett 1: 1. Subject to design, doubling this may be reasonable. The Concept Plan adopted a gross of 2: 1 which given the constraints on this site amounts to a nett of about 4: 1 hence the excessive height and capture of the open space. Now doubled again. A nett density of 2: 1 with careful design is compatible with the site, allowing for say three stories to the Wilson Street edge up to eight stories along the railway edge (subject to adequate noise insulation).
The amenity standards of the State Environmental Planning Policy 65 should be met for all units (the normal requirements for residential flat buildings). As admitted by the architect for the current scheme, this must be demonstrated.
As requested by the City of Sydney a comprehensive traffic and parking study must be done for this site in accord with the resolution of the 21 May 2012 public meeting, attended by 200 people
All of these baseline studies and standards should be met before progressing to tender this site. Planning should be consistent, equitable, a level playing field: not in NSW, at present. There are many scenarios for growth that are more equitable, greener, with better amenity, cheaper; but the politics and narrow vested interests get in the way.