30 Old Canterbury Road Lewisham - 13 mature trees on the land.

30 Old Canterbury Road Lewisham – 13 mature trees on the land.

There is what looks like a pocket park on the corner of Old Canterbury Road & St John Street Lewisham.  It’s not a pocket park of course, only a vacant block of land, but it struck me as quite lovely.  I wrote the following about it on Facebook on 2nd May 2013 –

The corner of Old Canterbury Road & St Johns Street Lewisham has something like 12 to 15 trees, many of them large.  It’s like a green oasis.  I’d like to see our pocket parks look something like this with large trees through the middle, rather than only around the edge.

This block of land is now a current Development Application before Marrickville Council to remove all the trees & build two townhouses.  Thank you to Iggy for alerting me to this.

According to the Development Application, the Roads & Traffic Authority purchased the land around 25-years ago & demolished a 1920s house.  They have since sold the land.

The land is 340.7-square-metres with a frontage of 12.42-metres & a depth of 27.43-metres.   The rear setback is 10.78-metres, set aside for parking, with a site coverage of 59%.

The DA says the site is clear of all encumbrances, that is, if you do not consider all the trees. There are 13 trees on the block –

  • 6 x Sydney Blue Gums
  • 1 x Queensland Firewheel tree
  • 1 x Crimson Bottlebrush
  • 1 x Sickle Wattle
  • 2 x River Tea Tree
  • 1 x Golden Locust
  • 1 x Yellow Box

The DA says, “A local resident then proceeded to plant trees all over the then vacant block thinking that the block was a park rather than a residential block.” 

“Whilst this application is seeking to remove the trees on the block, it is also seeking to replace with more appropriate species & location. Furthermore, our landscaping will be more visible from the street, because the trees and their foliage will be at street or eye level for all who walk or drive by.” [Bold is my emphasis]. 

In summary, the DA says the trees are very dangerous & will become more dangerous – “even more dangerous to the handicapped, wheelchair bound or visually impaired.”  They drop too many leaves, clog the roadside gutters, block up stormwater drains, present a risk of liability for Council if they are retained & are aggravating neighbours & damaging property.

“The trees presentation to the street is very poor.   Only the trunk of the trees is visible at eye level. The foliage is not visible by the car when you drive past or from the footpath when you walk past. One would have to look up substantially to see the leaves & foliage [like we do in parks]. 

“The trees are not part of a wider landscaped environment but rather on their own on a section of road which is functional rather than beautiful.   Their presentation is one of abandonment & neglect in an urban setting rather than a pristine landscape environment.” 

“Whilst this application is seeking to remove these trees, it is also applying to replace them with the same number of trees, but of more appropriate species & in better locations.” [I could not find these in the plans other than drawings of 4 short stature street trees, which the DA says the owner will pay for].

“Furthermore, rather than looking at the trunks of the trees at present, our proposed landscaping will be more visible from the street.   Planting at street level height (using lower & smaller trees with more foliage) is far more appropriate & effective at providing a landscaped environment because it is more visible for the street for all who walk or drive by.”  [Bold is my emphasis].

Unfortunately the plans from page 54-60 were blank pdfs, including the landscape plan on page 58.  Another page with the words ‘inspired garden’ showed photos of plant I presume they intend to use –

  • Purple Peppermint tree – Agonis flexuosa ‘After Dark’ – defined as a slow-growing shrub that can reach 7.6 metres x 5.5 metres width in the landscape, but it can also be used as a container plant.
  • Scarlet bottlebrush – Callistemon macropunctatus – grows to 1.8 metres height – 4.5 metres width.
  • Hairpin banksia – Banksia spinulosa – shrub growing to 1 – 3 metres in height.
  • Golden-flowered salwood – Acacia aulacocarpa – grows to 8 metres x 8 metres width.  Acacias are not long-lived.
  • White Mondo grass – Grows to a height of 30 cm.

You can access the Development Application here –