New plans for Alice Street Newtown – with how trees may look in the future.

Plans for tree removal. Click to enlarge.

This row of Jacarandas – public street trees – will be removed.

A Development Application to build 206 residential units with 158 car parking spaces & 6 retail shops at 32-72 Alice Street Newtown is currently on exhibition on Marrickville Council’s website.   I write about this DA because the developer wants to remove 45 out of 56 trees.  8 of these are street trees, including a row of Jacarandas.  At the start of the report it says they plan to remove 45 trees. In the conclusion this changes to 43 trees to be removed. My count was 45 trees.

The tree species to be removed are Brush Box, Jacaranda, Coral tree, Native Daphne, Lilly Pilly, Eucalypt species, Tasmanian Blue Gum, Wallangarra White Gum, Scotch Elm, Port Jackson Fig, Broad-leafed Paperbark, Scribbly Gum, Native Frangipani & Evergreen Alder.

A cluster of trees right on the perimeter that will be removed

Any tree that is to be removed is to be ‘replaced with new plantings as per landscape plan.’  The new drawing plans show 3 larger size trees & 4 smaller trees within the property.

Of the 11 street trees on Alice Street deemed suitable to retain, the report says that if movement occurs within any Structural Root Zones, “immediate removal is strongly recommended to avoid potential collapse.” It will be interesting to see if these trees do last the distance.

We went to have a look at the site.  Most of the trees are mature & the loss of 45 trees will have a major negative impact on the streetscape of the area.  The DA assesses only 16 of the trees as in good condition, the rest were assessed as in poor or fair condition.  The trees look like many of the street trees across Marrickville LGA.

Most of the trees are growing around the perimeter of the property.  If the developer moved the buildings back 5-metres, the vast majority of trees on the property could be saved.  A unit block across the road on Alice Street has been set back 5-metres, so why not a requirement to do the same here?

A narrow streetscape might have been suitable 100-years ago, but Newtown has become so busy that any new such development should not be allowed to build on the outer boundary lines. According to the DA, current commercial zoning requires zero set-back from the street frontage. This point confuses me because the development will be mostly for housing, so the commercial zoning will have to change – won’t it?

Building 5-metres inside the boundary line improves the streetscape immensely & positively changes the whole utility of a more open streetscape, avoids oppressive shadows on other properties, ensures more trees are saved & gives an opportunity for a garden outlook to the whole street.  It is time that every development gets pushed back in narrow inner city streets. The developer would not be losing much because they are gaining height that they never had before. Housing units with a greener outlook are likely to sell for higher prices anyway.

The incremental mature tree loss across Marrickville LGA is a serious issue & will continue to be so, especially with so much development being planned.

Also of interest; the developer is asking for a Floor Space Ratio of 2.33:1 meaning that they want to over-develop the land according to Marrickville Council’s development standard of a Floor Space Ratio of 1.85:1 set out in the Marrickville LEP2011.

The developer says the public domain will be enhanced by the proposal, “particularly through the provision of a new footpath along the northern side of Alice Lane.”  They also say, “it is imperative that the site be put to as efficient a use as possible & the proposal …. will result in no significant adverse environmental impacts.”

You can view the documents of the DA here –

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 12th July 2012.

Part of the Alice Street frontage