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The Save Marrickville group put this model together to give the community an idea of what the landscape will look like with all the high-rise buildings in Marrickville. The tall black and brown buildings at the top represent the 35 storeys for Carrington Road, the red and orange is around Marrickville Railway Station and the white represents single story houses. This model does not include the Victoria Road Precinct, which also has high-rise. It is pretty shocking to look at a proposed future Marrickville if the government and the developers get what they want.  Photo by Save Marrickville and used with thanks.

Community group ‘Save Marrickville’ [ www.savemarrickville.com.au ] has organised a march to peacefully protest the NSW State Government’s rezoning of Marrickville to a Priority Precinct.

Save Marrickville say on their Facebook page that –

  • “The rezoning of Marrickville will mean the mass destruction of heritage streets replaced with high density.
  • The destruction of Marrickville’s character.
  • High rise towers up to 35 storeys.
  • Eight storey apartment blocks next to your home.
  • More than 10,000 extra residents.
  • Almost no affordable housing.
  • No new schools or parks.
  • Roads & railways grid-locked.
  • Abolishing industrial land & 1,800 local jobs that exist now.

There is still time to change this!   Marrickville has not yet been rezoned.”

All you need to do is look at nearby Wolli Creek or Alexandria to see what is planned for Marrickville.  This level of development will change Marrickville for ever.  Dulwich Hill will also be hard hit by development.

This is an opportunity to tell the NSW state government that their plans are nothing less than over-development & will destroy this community.  Silence to the government means we approve.

The march will be –

WHEN:          Saturday 24th February 2018.

TIME:             12 noon.

WHERE:        Meet at Marrickville Town Hall & march a short distance down Marrickville Road to the Alex Trevallion Plaza located next to the Post Office Cafe.

SPEAKERS: Linda Burney MP – Federal Labor Member for Barton.

Mayor Byrne – Inner West Council.

Councillor Hesse – Greens Councillor for Marrickville Ward.

Kelsie Dadd – spokesperson for Save Marrickville.

The artist’s impression of the development of Carrington Road Marrickville South with 35-storey towers & 8-storeys next to single storey homes.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne posted the following on his Face Book page today regarding the development of Carrington Road Marrickville South.   See – http://bit.ly/2yOu6fO

“Here’s the “artists’ impression” of what Carrington Road, in south Marrickville, would look like if Mirvac’s proposal for 35 storey skyscrapers, including 2600 residential units, were to be approved (that’s Mackey Park on the right of the image).

I’m calling a public meeting at Marrickville Town Hall on Thursday October 19 at 7:30pm to alert the community to the monstrosity the developer has planned.

I’ve seen some bad developments in my time but this is something else. It would: 

  • Completely eliminate all industrial premises in the precinct – leading to the loss of around 1400 JOBS and the eviction of 138 businesses. That’s the equivalent of sacking the entire Inner West Council staff, in one go.
  • Cause traffic chaos throughout south Marrickville.
  • Be approximately double the height of the existing overdevelopment over the Cooks River in Wolli Creek. 
  • Include zero affordable housing and no new community facilities at all.”

 

The community had an inkling that this development would be big, but no one imagined multiple towers that reach to double the height of the towers at Discovery Point Wolli Creek.  It is unacceptable.

Most of the community are accepting of development, but this kind of development will kill our suburbs.  Traffic is already at a standstill during peak times with people trying to get on & exit the Princes Highway.

Carrington Road has permanent flood markers because it regularly floods.

I feel sad that this is what is planned.   The development looks awful & it will quickly downgrade the quality of life for Marrickville & Tempe residents.

I also feel sad for the 1,400 people who will either lose their job or be required to work in another location.   Employment zones should not be rezoned & lost.

As for the planes, towers like this close to a busy airport is madness.  It is yet another risk the residents will have to face.

One last thing, I predict that the heritage Palms & Fig trees will not survive this development.

Public Meeting at Marrickville Town Hall

Thursday October 19th 2017

7:30pm

Another view with Tempe & Sydenham in the background. It’s interesting how they show the concept design from high up in the sky, which minimises everything. It would be fairer if we could see how it would look from street level.

Street art in Marrickville

Street art in Marrickville

Marrickville Council has fliers all over the place inviting interested members of the community to attend a workshop that asks the very important question – “How can we make our local environment the best it could be?”

They say, “bring your ideas & all ideas are the right ideas.”   Council will provide a free vegetarian lunch.

And, “This event is a must for people who love to breathe clean air, grow food, plant trees, see clean streets, get to know people, connect with community, watch birds and help nature grow & thrive in Marrickville now & into the future.  Importantly, this event is for people that are ready to do something & to do it with others.”

For me it is easy.

  • Marrickville Council could follow City of Sydney’s example & double the urban forest within a decade, though City of Sydney Council are planning to achieve this by 2020 & the results are already noticeable.
  • Again follow the City of Sydney’s example & reclaim as many street corners as possible, allowing that space to be greened up & also serve as informal & attractive meeting places.  This kind of intervention slows down traffic, as well as adding beauty to the streetscape.
  • More de-paving & more verge gardens. This program is already having a positive impact throughout the municipality.
  • More green walls, even if it is a simple vine that grows up a side wall cooling the area & preventing graffiti tagging.
  • More native trees to fill in the ‘urban biodiversity mosaic, Council’s map of areas of biodiversity across the municipality, instead of mainly planting for wildlife only along biodiversity corridors such as the Greenway & the Cooks River.  Unfortunately, areas that support wildlife are sparse, except for along the Cooks River & the railway lines.
  • No loss of our park space for any reason. We have the least green space of any municipality in Australia, so keeping it must be a top priority.
  • Fresh water available for birds with every bubbler & in parks.  It happens in neighbouring municipalities, why not ours?
  • Complete The Greenway, though I did read recently that the NSW government is going to financially contribute with the councils to make it happen.  See – http://bit.ly/1rHJMxC
  • Insist that new high-rise developments move back from the street to prevent a canyon effect & to allow tall street trees to be planted. It is better for those living in these units to look out onto green & importantly, better for their health as those street trees will help capture particulate matter, protect air quality & lessen the development of respiratory illness & fatal heart attacks.  This is vitally important in my opinion.  I’ve written about this public health issue on a number of occasions. See – http://bit.ly/1qfKvVz    Also, more footpath area outside these developments leaves more room for landscaping & seating if there is a café or restaurant included on the ground level.  Plus, it provides more room for pedestrians.  Targeting new development to produce better looking streets is a no-brainer in my opinion.  Otherwise we will be stuck for the next 50-years with the mistakes of today.

WHEN:     Sunday 22nd May 2016.

WHERE:    Tom Foster Community Centre at 11-13 Darley Street Newtown. 

TIME:    12.30 – 4.30pm

RSVP:    By Tuesday 17th May 2016.
To RSVP & for more information see – http://bit.ly/1QxT1F8

Showing the boundary of the proposed Victoria Road Precinct. Click to enlarge.

Showing the boundary of the proposed Victoria Road Precinct. Click to enlarge.

This was the Infrastructure, Planning & Environmnetal Services Committee.  All Councillors attended.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

Status Update Report preliminary planning proposal for part of the Marrickville/Sydenham Industrial Area – Victoria Road Precinct. – The proponent wants to amend the Local Environment Plan (LEP) to change the zoning of 18-hectares of industrial zone ‘employment lands’ to provide “creative industries” & residential housing to a “maximum building heights to 14-stories” with a 3:5:1 floor/space ratio.

The Council staff’s recommendations concluded with – “By submitting a planning proposal to Gateway, Council would signal to the Department that it considers that the proposal is justified & has strategic merit prior to it being able to reasonably conclude this to be the case.  It is self evident why the proponent would prefer this approach.”

Clr Macri put up an amendment to send the proposal to Gateway for assessment. FOR: Clrs Macri, Hanna, Iskandar, Woods, Tyler & Gardiner. AGAINST: Clrs Brooks, Leary, Phillips, Ellsmore & Haylen. The proposal now goes to Gateway.

The debate lasted around 2-hours, so would be too much content to post here. Instead I will quote some of the more memorable comments by Councillors in the order of speakers.

Cr Macri: Our staff are reading the rule books. I can see merit in the proposal. I grew up in the area. I hope this proposal can move us to a better outcome. I can see overhead pedestrian bridges & open public space. When I was Mayor we made things happen. I haven’t given up.   We have to move forward. We are the Councillors & we drive the agenda. In Arlington, our kids are out there playing soccer, while others are stuck at home. Clr Phillips: Clr Marci doesn’t even live in the area. Clr Macri: I work in the area.

Clr Gardiner: The Greens Press Release says it will drastically change the area & it will. This area is a disgrace – an urban blight.

Clr Phillips: It stayed an employment area in the LEP because it was close to the airport & Port Botany. Where will the employment lands be?  Staff say if we send to Gateway this gives the message that Marrickville Council endorses the plan. We shouldn’t endorse a plan that has serious flaws that the community doesn’t know about.  It cost Council $2 million to consult with the community to develop the LEP & the LEP did not have this area rezoned for 3,000 extra dwellings. 3:5:1 floor/space ratio is rarely found in this area.

Clr Ellsmore: We are exceeding our housing dwellings.

Clr Hanna: I am sick of residents coming to me & saying my kids can’t buy in the area. The RSL units were bought for $500,000 & now selling for $750,000. Do we want people buying from the Eastern Suburbs & the North Shore & not the kids of Marrickville?   The petition was a waste of my time because the postcodes were not in the area. Last time I was told, you will lose, but I got more votes than before. I am running again. [for a position as Councillor].

Clr Woods: We struggle with most employment lands & we don’t employ anyone.  The heavy lifting is in the South Ward. Item 5: a 10.8 hectare rezoning near Sydenham Station to become a light music hub. I will be interested to see if this gets the same response to the Victoria Road Precinct.

Clr Leary: Do we really think that these properties will be selling at an affordable price? We are talking about thousands of new residents. I catch the bus to work & the buses go past full. Recently some of our bus stops have been closed down. Our transport is to capacity. If you bring in 6,000 to 9,000 people, where are they going to stand to catch the buses? Clrs voted to LEP that increased density beyond what we thought comfortable & now we have a whole new ball game.

Clr Brooks: Property economists will tell you that buildings like this will not help single people or families. There is no evidence that affordability will be achieved at all.

Clr Macri: Marrickville is evolving. I’ve been around for 45-years & it is changing. If you want to know what Sydney will look like, look at other cities.

Showing the boundary of the proposed Victoria Road Precinct. Click to enlarge.

Showing the boundary of the proposed 18-hectare Victoria Road Precinct. Click to enlarge.

Call me naïve, but what much of what I learnt during the Council Meetings I observed came as a surprise. One of the most important insights was the incremental changes, brick by brick, & the Victoria Road Precinct is a great example.

The developers came to the May 2012 Council Meeting & said what they wanted to do with the 18-hectare site.  The Councillors voted as follows –

Clrs Olive (Greens), Phillips (Greens), Byrne (Greens), O’Sullivan (Labor) & Wright (Labor) against the proposal.  Mayor Hanna (Ind), Clrs Macri, (Ind), Iskandar (Labor), Tsardoulias (Labor), Thanos (Ind) for the proposal with the then Mayor Hanna (Ind) using his casting vote to pass the vote. See – http://bit.ly/1rF1roi

During the extensive consultation process for the Local Environment Plan (LEP), the community was shown things like height restrictions & floor-space ratio & together with Marrickville Council, agreed on a development plan for the future. I have been very surprised that the LEP has been changed a number of times post approval & is still being amended to allow for more rezoning, development & higher buildings.

Since the LEP was finalised, the total for new dwellings for Marrickville has increased from a government required 4,150 by 2031 to a Councillor increased amount of 12,000 whenever these dwellings can be built.   The debate in Council Meetings went something like, though don’t quote me – “I remember when Marrickville had 110,000 residents & it was busy on the main street. Marrickville can cope.”

Once the LEP was finalised development started & many in the community went into shock with the ugliness of some of the developments, the loss of heritage buildings & the application for 16-storey high-rise in a location where 8-storeys was the maximum in the LEP.

“But how can this be allowed?” was a very common response from the community & they had to start fighting Council to prevent this. Thankfully Railcorp saved the day & stopped the 16-storey development because it encroached on Railcorp land.

In response to community outrage over a high-rise development in Dulwich Hill, Mayor Haylen lobbied for an Architectural Excellence Panel & thankfully, this was established.  Problem is though, this panel cannot be employed to assess every development because of the costs to rate-payers & if the Councillors don’t vote to send the DA to the panel, it doesn’t get assessed.

Earlier this month I sat in a Marrickville Council Meeting & watched the Councillors vote to allow for one-bedroom apartments that were a whopping 40% BELOW the floor-space ratio requirements.  My question is how can this be allowed?

The “Victoria Road Precinct” development is on the agenda for next Tuesday’s Infrastructure, Planning & Environmental Services Committee meeting on 2nd September 2014 & for the first time I see mention of 14-storey buildings planned for this massive 18-hectare site.  This is vastly different from the 6-storey buildings shown in their proposed images of the site that was provided to the Councillors in the Council Meeting of May 2012.

One other point that I think is important is that the development of the Victoria Road Precinct will be razing most of the area to the ground.  Also in Tuesday’s Infrastructure, Planning & Environmental Services Committee meeting is the attempt to save the lovely Beynon & Hayward building in Livingstone Road Petersham to be demolished to extend a Council car park. The community does not want to lose this iconic building, judging by the numbers who signed the petition & the comments left on the local Facebook site. See – http://bit.ly/1skfXi2

Both the National Trust & the Australian Institute of Architects have criticized Marrickville Council over this move. Also an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the proposed demolishion said –

“London or New York might salivate at the prospect of reviving an inner-city heritage landmark, but in Sydney it seems we’d still just as readily swap character for a car park.”

Back to the Victoria Road Precinct, a new modern glass, steel & concrete precinct is not at all in keeping with the character of Marrickville in my opinion.  Many of these buildings could be repaired & repurposed to make the area similar to those in London or New York. However, the plan is to make this area of Marrickville look like what is happening to Alexandria at the moment – a suburb of high-rise square blocks.

Demolishing all the buildings may be easier for the developers, but I personally think it will be a loss to the community & to Sydney itself.  The Meatpacking District in Manhattan was once regarded as a slum, but since it has been rejuvenated it is now a marvellous place to live & work. Part of the charm is that the buildings were retained & repurposed into housing & employment.

I am in total agreement with this recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald.  It is about the Beynon & Hayward building, but it could just as easily be about the proposed plans for the Victoria Road Precinct.

_________________________

Marrickville Council is under heavy fire from heritage experts, who fear “ill-informed” decision makers are repeating Sydney’s errors of last century in the race to redevelop increasingly valuable inner-city space.” See – http://bit.ly/1k8JINc

_________________________

Now I must state clearly that I am NOT against development & that I believe that we need more housing.

I just would like development to conform to the height restrictions & floor/space ratios in the LEP, not be substandard housing & also retain as much of the streetscape character of the area. It can be done well & beautifully. See my post on The Gantry in Camperdown http://bit.ly/1sR1PMg for an example of great housing that retains the façade, yet provides housing of a great standard of modern housing for the same or similar financial outlay as other recent housing developments in Marrickville & Dulwich Hill that are currently polarizing the community.

I would also like the so-called “affordable housing” to actually be affordable & for those that are rental “affordable housing” to be given to actual finacially poor people & not to people based on what job they have.

My greatest fear is that I will end up living in an area that has lost much of what motivated me to move here in the first place.  I fear that traffic, which is already becoming unmanageable, will be horrendous. I believe that, if this push for  concrete, glass & steel high-rise goes ahead, the community will be asking why were these developments allowed just like they do about many of the local monstrosities built in the 1970s.

We are in the hands of our Councillors. Let’s hope they do not destroy Marrickville for the profit of developers.

Planning diagram of the development proposal for the Victoria Road precinct back in May 2012 - nothing like the current 14-storeys proposed.

Planning diagram of the development proposal for the Victoria Road precinct back in May 2012 – I can’t see the 14-storeysas currently  proposed.

The planning diagrams for the  Victoria Road frontage of the Victoria Road precinct as part of the development proposal.  Again, nothing like the 14-storeys currently proposed.

The planning diagrams for the Victoria Road frontage of the Victoria Road precinct as part of the development proposal in May 2012. Again, nothing like the 14-storeys currently proposed.

This is what was proposed - 16-storeys, but not ethereal  like the images make out to be.

This is what was proposed – 16-storeys, but not ethereal like the image makes the tower out to be. Peer Review said the proposal would likely create a windy space, lack of shade due to limited shade trees …. a corporate image with little amenity.

Marrickville Councillors knocked back this development proposal, which many residents, including myself, believed would have killed Marrickville & set a precedent for many more tower developments.

I have cherry-picked some of the more interesting items in the ‘Post Gateway Report on Station Street Precinct Planning Proposal.’  It’s a large document that makes interesting reading & you can download it here (Item 27) – http://bit.ly/MyvniP

In essence the planning proposal for 2-18 Station Street & 1 Leofrene Avenue Marrickville sought to amend the Marrickville Local Environment Plan (MLEP) to change the zoning, floor/space ratio, as well as increase building height limits from 8-storeys to a whopping 16-storeys & develop 120 units & approx 510-sq-metres of retail floor space.

The developer also wanted to enter into a Voluntary Planning Agreement (where they give something in return for consent) & this was to be a small plaza/courtyard area under the awning of the building & part of the above ground access to the railway station.  It was suggested this will be a great place for the community to meet & perhaps hold markets.

I have taken some of the comments from my post on the Council Meeting of 17th September 2013 & added them below.  To read all of what was said see – http://bit.ly/1cXSPwi

The Architect said at the September 2013 Council Meeting, “At the moment, it’s the hole of Marrickville.”

The speaker representing the owner said, “This masterplan provides new public space.  It’s an income providing asset, well-designed public space & a landmark building.  It does come at a cost of increased height to offset the public plaza.  Solar access are generally non-issues & no different to 8 storey building currently allowed.  An 8-storey building is not in the interests of the Marrickville community.”

The then Mayor, Clr Macri was particularly keen on the development saying,  “We shape the buildings & the buildings shape us. …. This building delivers great things for Marrickville. It’s a dynamic, inviting & exciting open space.  I want to see this happen.” 

The Proposal was sent to the Department of Planning & Infrastructure for a Gateway determination.  This was approved in December 2013.  The proposal was also sent for Peer Review & to Transport NSW.

Transport for NSW had significant concerns with the current draft concept plan.  Some of their concerns were –

  • Ease of access, lack of accessible car parking spaces close to the station, safe, logical access for all commuters, access for emergency service & maintenance vehicles, management of pedestrian thoroughfares & adequate management of stormwater.
  • They also found that the concept plan encroached in TfNSW land & this has not been consented to.
  • Importantly, the raised plaza is incompatible with the proposed Marrickville Railway Station upgrade.
  • TfNSW has also committed to funding public domain improvement works in Station Street, which may not be available if the raised plaza goes ahead.

Peer Review –

  • The area is too small to create a successful two level plaza approach.
  • Problems with Australian standards for access.
  • Regarding retail space – “Coupled with large building undercroft space, this would create an ambiguous space with negative microclimate & amenity issues.”
  • The proposal would likely create a windy space, lack of shade due to limited canopy trees, need for more soft landscaping & inclusion of seats & bicycle parking.
  • Security & safety concerns of commuters.

Also –

  • Suggested substantial amendments to “remove blank walls, dead spaces & excessive tiered stairs.”

Further –

  • Proposed building is over-scaled, overbearing & out of character.
  • No justification of a landmark building.  “The very notion of a landmark building is contestable in general.  ….the question should be asked; a landmark for what purpose?”
  • “The overall rationale is questionable.”
  • The plaza would “present a corporate image with little amenity.”
  • Location of public parking is inconvenient, poor passive surveillance & likely to be considered unsafe.

Also –

  • The proposed design is an overdevelopment of the site.
  • Significant visual & overshadowing impacts.
  • Public space compromised by sloped areas, stairs & building structure.
  • Laneway is too narrow & unsafe.
  • Plaza would be in shade for most of winter.
  • Lack of public benefit of a ‘memorial park’ at 2 Leofrene Street, as it is small & would be overshadowed by the building.
  • Height, bulk & scale would dominant views & is out of character.

I was not present, but received the following update from a resident who attended the Council Meeting.

“Attended the Council Meeting earlier this evening. [There were] three excellent speakers; Laura & Matt from Schwebel Street & Jeanette from Leofrene Avenue. The developers were in attendance, but did not speak.

Information from the Business papers follows;

Based on the findings (from Peer Reviews & Council Officers) & recommendations of the Peer reviews and with the benefit of the final plans for the upgrade of Marrickville Station this report recommends a revised option for the maximum development potential of the land.

Key features of the [Council’s] preferred option are:

  • Allow amalgamation of Nos 2-18 Station St, the eastern part of Station Street & 1 Leofrene Avenue & require the dedication of a 6m wide rear lane adjacent to No 3 Leofrene St
  • Retain Council ownership of the balance of Station St road reserve.
  • Upgrade the public domain of the existing street rather than construct a raised plaza structure.
  • No encroachment of the building onto or over the Council-owned reserve, &
  • Limit the building to a maximum height of 9 storeys.

Recommendation was that Council requests the proponent submit an amended planning proposal for Council’s consideration prior to public exhibition that addresses the issues & is consistent with the preferred option outlined in this report.

The Mayor [Haylen] added an amendment, which was related to integrating the station upgrade.

Greens South Ward Councillor David Leary moved an amendment that the building should be within the MLEP 2011.

The debate then spiraled downward. Clr Woods talked about Process.  Clr Gardiner

Clr Gardener had a go at the Greens for not voting for the LEP & now trying to use it & had a go at all those people who use social media to say bad things about him.

Clr Macri & Clr Tsardoulias talked about process & at length about how the Save Station Street group [a local residents action group] were all Greens stooges & they didn’t think it was right that people didn’t say nice things about them on Social Media, when they sent the proposal off to Gateway rather than follow Council Officers recommendation that Peer Reviews be conducted BEFORE sending to Gateway process.

Clr Hanna talked about how he talks to residents all the time and had been fined for speaking on his mobile about the development whilst driving.”

The votes supporting Clr Leary’s amendment to require resubmitted plans to comply strictly with the Marrickville LEP: Clrs Leary, Phillips, Brooks & Ellsmore.  Against: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Woods, Gardiner Gardener, Tyler, Hanna & Macri.

The votes supporting Council’s recommendation: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Woods, Brooks, Ellsmore, Gardiner Gardener, Tyler, Hanna & Macri.  Against: Clrs Leary & Phillips.  Recommendation passed.

Is this the future for Marrickville South?

Is this the future for Marrickville South?  Screenshot taken from a+ design groups’s website.  Click to enlarge.

This image of a ‘maybe one day’ [my words] development for Carrington Road Marrickville South was posted on Facebook recently.  It was a shock to see two 23-storey towers in the plan.  The site is between Carrington Road, Richardsons Crescent, the rail line & ending just past Myrtle Street.  Note:  this proposal has not been submitted to Marrickville Council as a Development Application as far as I am aware.

I thought it would be good to share, especially as we have an application for a 16-storey tower for Station Street Marrickville that has been sent to Gateway for the first step.   See – http://bit.ly/18dbumc  It’s also good to know what might be coming.

Towers seem to be de rigueur, despite the height restrictions in our Marrickville Local Environment Plan (MLEP).   The image came from a+ design group – http://www.aplusdg.com.au/project/carrington-road-marrickville/

The red shows the boundaries as far as I understand.  The two red circles indicate the two 23-storey towers.

The red shows the boundaries as far as I understand. The two red circles indicate the general location of the two 23-storey towers.

This is what is proposed for Station Street beside Illawarra Road & Marrickville Railway Station.  16 storeys - 8 storeys above what is allowed in the Marrickville Local Environment Plan.

This is what is proposed for Station Street beside Illawarra Road & Marrickville Railway Station. 16 storeys …. 8 storeys above what is allowed in the Marrickville Local Environment Plan.

This was the Council Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine. 

Note: MC = Marrickville Council.  MLEP = Marrickville Local Environment Plan 2011.  DCP = Development Control Plan.  VPA = Voluntary Planning Agreement.  JRPP = Joint Regional Planning Panel.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West. INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

I have covered as much as I could write during the meeting, as I believe this matter is really important for the community.

Planning proposal: 2-18 Station Street & 1 Leofrene Avenue Marrickville  – The proposal seeks to amend the MLEP to change the zoning, floor/space ratio & increase building height limits from 8-storeys to 16-storeys to develop 120 units & approx 510-sq-metres of retail floorspace.  They also want to enter into a Voluntary Planning Agreement (where they give something in return for consent).  MC staff concerns are – excessive bulk of the building, impact on streetscape & townscape, the building dominating & encroaching public space & non-compliance with solar access provisions.  Staff recommended that the Councillors vote to engage consultants to have the proposal Peer Reviewed, which would bring their findings back to Council.

One resident spoke against the proposal:  I do not support selling to developers  to gain public space.  Height restrictions are 26-metres & they are taking it to 59-metres. The MLEP was meant to be 10-year urban control plan.  It appears that the MLEP is useless as it just gets amended to the detriment of residents. This proposal raises important issues.  No value to hire a consultant. You already have a plan for this site.  It’s too big, too bulky & doesn’t compliment streetscape.  There is no parking.  It will increase traffic & severely limit solar access.  What will stop developers to develop other areas in Leofrene Avenue?  The developer purchased the building in January this year.  Is the developer planning to sell to get a VPA?  Maybe MC could use the money to create what you can afford. A petition of 95 signatures was tabled.  You represent us, the residents & have a responsibility to act in our best interests. This is not one of them.

Peter Lonergan, the Architect:  In 2011 MC gazetted the DCP & 2-18 [Station Street] was one of these sites.  As the owners of the land we were required to incorporate what is in the Masterplan. The roads will remain with MC.  1200-sq-metre public plaza, give an additional lane for buses, 700-sq-metres retail & 120 units in 16-storeys, which will assist in developing community spaces.  I agree there will be increased overshadowing over Leofrene Avenue & Schwebel Street, but the public may benefit more.  We are requesting that this goes to the Gateway process to allow changes to the DCP, then allow to go to DA. It would greatly improve the centre of Marrickville.  At the moment, it’s the hole of Marrickville.

Speaker representing the owner:  This masterplan provides new public space.  It’s an income providing asset, well-designed public space & a landmark building.  It does come at a cost of increased height to offset the public plaza.  We had a VPA meeting with MC in March 2012 & a Councillor briefing in February 2013.   Solar access are generally non-issues & no different to 8 storey building currently allowed.  The cost of the public square is increased density. There is an urgency to coordinate with the Marrickville Railway Station upgrade.  An 8-storey building is not in the interests of the Marrickville community.  [meaning a 16 storey building is].

Mayor Macri:  Moved to submit to Dept Planning for Gateway process & engage a consultant to do Peer Review, & enter into a VPA.  Seek to amend the MLEP, start a design competition process & request coordination of development with upgrade of Marrickville Station.  APEC conference in Taiwan I just attended was interesting.  50% of people  live in urban areas. Within 20 years it will be 70%.  We shape the buildings & the buildings shape us.  The plan gives an outdoor area where people can interact & is creating an accessible transport interchange hub.  The comments about the MLEP…this was a broad-brush approach to give us an idea.  If people seek to amend that & go higher, they need to reapply.  This building delivers great things for Marrickville. It’s a dynamic, inviting & exciting open space.  I want to see this happen

Clr Leary:  Put up a foreshadowed motion to reject the proposal & invite the developer to put in a new design proposal that meets the criteria of the MLEP.  There was extensive community consultation for the MLEP.  This proposal is wholly outside the MLEP.  16-storeys at 59-metres is a joke if you look at what the current MLEP allows.  Mayor, if you wanted a 16-storey building, you could have debated when the MLEP was being decided.  The MLEP is law.  Leofrene Avenue is people’s homes & for the speaker to say it is a hole is offensive.  There are a whole lot of reasons why this proposal is wrong. It far exceeds the height restrictions in MLEP.  The community petition was signed by 95 residents in 48-hours.  How many residents will come forward over the next weeks or months?  I think you will see great opposition.  16-storeys – you will be able to see that from most of the LGA.  This is the Rockdalisation of Marrickville.   We want sustainable development consistent with the planning criteria we have developed. What do we get in exchange? Very little – a courtyard of little use.

Clr Gardiner:  Let’s lock the gate.  Can’t have development.  Can’t have progress. Let’s keep houses low.  Let’s not change anything.  Not in my backyard. This is the beginning of a planning process.  We might find that 59-metres is too tall or the impact on residents is too big.  Let’s consider it rather than saying no.  Clr Leary:  I invited them to stay within the MLEP.

Clr Ellsmore:  The residents’ response was – you can’t be serious!  None were speaking in favour of this building. The Greens support sustainable infill development. 8-storeys is high.  This is not what residents want.

Clr Phillips:  Greens are not against development, but we are for protecting the residents’ amenity without destroying streetscapes.  We were going to get it Peer Reviewed. Now we just send to Dept Planning. I’m pleased that the VPA has more information. It’s a sign the developer knows this is an overdevelopment.  It’s over double the height limit – from a 3.1 to 8.31 floor/space ratio.  I don’t think we have seen this before. This is like the CBD. We did consult with the community.  Now we are to disregard them?  The MLEP is not a broad-brush.  It’s a planning instrument & it’s law.  The last Council used to stay within the LEP, this Council disregards it.  This is spot rezoning.  If Macri & Gardener want highrise, let’s redo the MLEP & consult with the community.  We are not getting much. We are losing Station Street, getting a not large courtyard, which will be in shadow a lot of the time.  The ratepayers are being ripped off.  I think VPAs are a corruption of our planning provisions.  I am also not confident that MC will not be left with a bill to finish these works for quasi public space.  The solar access & shadow diagrams are not well produced. Many houses will be cast into shadow.  I agree Station Street is neglected.  The Greens put forward every year to get works done on this area.  I think this will be a poor civic space.  It will be a courtyard to this building.  They can build an 8-storey building & still make a profit. 

Clr Haylen:  Asked staff – is this fast tracking? Does it give away our planning powers? Staff:  Once endorsed by Gateway, it does become a MC planning proposal.  With peer review, no change in MC’s planning powers.  Back from Gateway would be in current form with some requirements for MC to amend the MLEP.  Gateway is first pass, but doesn’t amend the MLEP.  The proponent could go to the Director General & request MC not be the planning controllers.

Clr Tsardoulias:  It’s not a vote to build; it’s a vote of a process. It will be assessed by someone outside of this chamber.  No DA commitment. Not rezoning.

Clr Brooks: There is a process, but there is a variety of processes.  Staff recommend a bigger, better process to review before sending to Gateway.  There is an extra level of risk to send to Gateway & not take the recommendation of staff.  This is a huge betrayal of ratepayers for this financial risk.  It’s extraordinary to think Councillors think this is an acceptable proposal in this area.  It is more than double the height that was agreed on by our community.  Asked staff – will this go to the JRPP?  Staff:  If endorsed by Gateway, JRPP would not be the planning authority to amend the MLEP.  The DA would go to the JRPP.   [Mayor Macri is a sitting member of the JRPP].

Clr Leary: Does the VPA come back to MC for planning approval?  Staff:  MC owns the land & would have considerable powers. 

Clr Hanna: Are they going to give us money for height?  Staff:  An offer has been made, but not accepted yet.  Clr Hanna: The residents told me that they don’t let their kids come by train for safety.  They say: we are ashamed of Station Street.  I want to see safety & improve the look of the area.  This is the worst Station in NSW.  If this gets built the value of the property will go up.  I’m letting it go for tonight. 

Clr Woods:  I’m concerned to support Leary’s motion to reject.  I take solace that MCs report goes to Gateway.  Pg 373 says the proponent has the right to request a different planning authority.  Rejecting could surrender any planning control that we have. We need Peer Review.  This recommendation will allow MC to stay in the process.

Mayor Macri:  This is a significant site for Marrickville.   The Greens will vote for an 8-storey building.  Clr Leary:  That’s the MLEP.  Mayor Macri:  There is urgency with the Station upgrade.  I won’t accept Station Street unless it is first class. 

Vote to send to Gateway: Mayor Macri, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Haylen, Woods, Hanna, Gardener & Tyler.  Against: Clrs Phillips, Leary, Brooks & Ellsmore.  Carried.  Here ends the Report for this week.

A photo from papers given to the public at this week's Marrickville Council Meeting.  You can see how 16 storeys looks beside single storey houses.

A photo from papers given to the public at this week’s Marrickville Council Meeting. You can see how 16 storeys looks beside single storey houses.

Showing the boundary of the proposed Victoria Road Precinct. Click to enlarge.

At the Marrickville Council Meeting of 1st May 2012 Councillors voted to allow developer Brookfield Multiplex to proceed with a planning proposal for a new development in Marrickville called the Victoria Road Precinct.

Clrs Olive, Phillips, Byrne, O’Sullivan & Wright voted against the proposal.  Mayor Hanna, Clrs Macri, Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Thanos voted for it with the Mayor using his casting vote to pass the vote.

Council’s recommendation was, “Council advise the proponent of the Victoria Road corridor development proposal that it will consider revised planning controls for the precinct along the lines of those which apply in the B5 & the B7 zoned areas under MLEP 2011. These may include bulky goods uses, showrooms, creative industries & live/work (similar to that permitted in the St Peters triangle precinct) land uses in appropriate parts of the precinct. Additionally, that these investigations be undertaken in advance of the next review of the MUS which is scheduled for 2013.”

The developer’s main selling point is that it will be a 6-star energy-rating precinct.  The area is mostly industrial zoning as far as I can tell & is under the flight path.

Brookfield Multiplex say we don’t provide enough local employment opportunities & want to create “showroom retail along Victoria Road, Intermediate zone to inland commercial uses, transitioning to industrial uses in the east, transitioning to residential uses in the west, sprinkled with cultural uses, extending green corridors through the site.”

The Inner West Courier say that, …. the precinct would push showrooms as the main type of employment, with items such as timber, tiles & all home renovation needs.”  http://bit.ly/K3vldC  I guess this will be like what is happening in Alexandra – a place to go to look for your new bathroom, taps, tiles etc.

I cannot see in the proposal or my notes how many people or how many units they intend for the precinct, but considering they are looking at around 350 units just for the Marrickville RSL development, I would guess in the thousands.  I seem to remember 5,000 people mentioned, but don’t accept this as fact.

In the papers it says that, Council which has fulfilled its commitments under the State planning framework to plan for additional dwellings & employment numbers.”  These are 4,100 extra people in Marrickville. [ August 2014 – Sorry, it is not 4,100 extra people, it is 4,100 extra residences.]   “Pivotal to any strategic assessment is the fact that Council has met its dwelling targets to 2031 & requires an additional 600 dwellings to meet its 2036 target.”  That is 24-years in the future.

Two other sites are being looked at to add further housing on top of the 4,100 residences agreed for the LEP 2011 that takes us to 2031 – Carrington Road Marrickville (1,000-1,500) & West Street Petersham.  I can’t see how the Victoria Road Precinct plan will not go ahead in some form or another now that approval has been given for developers to do more work on the idea.

Lastly, the perimeters of the precinct –

Sydenham Road from to Fitzroy Street to Edinburgh Road, then up Leicester Street, around Enmore Park via Victoria Road, Black Street & Llewellyn Street, back onto Enmore Road, then into Cowper Street, down Phillipott Street, Fahey Lane, down Perry Street, Addison Road to Illawarra Road, then along York Street, back onto Illawarra Road opposite Charles Street, down King Street, into Shepherd Street, around Marrickville Primary School at Thompson Street, incorporating all the industrial properties down Farr Street to return back onto Sydenham Road.  It’s a big place.

This is the Victoria Road frontage of the Victoria Road Precinct as part of the development proposal. Unless these are old trees already in place & to be retained, they are projections of trees that would need at least 15-years to grow to this size.

This is the frontage of Rich Street West as included in the development proposal for the Victoria Road Precinct.

Tonight the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) met at Marrickville Town Hall to consider the DA for the old Marrickville RSL site. Well, they did approve it (unanimously) despite around 100 people from the community attending & 12 people, including Clr Kontellis, Clr O’Sullivan speaking at length about what they believed were the problems of this development. I also addressed the Panel. There were many arguments  from the community including that the proposed building was ugly, inappropriately big, greedy, non-green & insensitive to the locality.

The Panel members were Clr Macri, Mr Ken Hawke, Mr John Roseth, Ms Mary-Lynne Taylor & Mr David Furlong.  The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

The JRPP gave the following reasons for approval:

  • The height of the development is not reasonably out of context with other developments & future planning
  • The current floor space ratio requirement is 2:1, the development will be 2.29:1
  • The height of 26 metres is allowed for this site
  • The traffic impact is acceptable
  • There will be some views loss, but on balance the proposal allows reasonable view sharing
  • The developer advertising the units before approval by the JRPP was noted, seen as ‘unfortunate,’ but did not influence the Panel.

The JRPP imposed 2 conditions:

  1. The waste storage had to be designed in a way that the garbage trucks can enter the property, this be dealt with & with the okay from Council before development starts
  2. Install appropriate AS115A street lighting across the street at no cost to Council

Essentially, why would the JRPP knock back a 7 storey development when Illawarra Road & Marrickville Road is about to be developed with 5-6-9 & 13 storey buildings?

The Architect spoke about his cultural background, that he grew up in Campsie, danced at the Marrickville Town Hall when he was younger & was an award winning Architect.

He said along the following lines,  I designed the Lamia development & am extremely proud of that. It was refused by Marrickville Council & has won an architecture award.  People were complaining about that. I’m not shy about landing a big building in Marrickville as it can do an enormous amount of environmental good. It’s called urban consolidation.

He said he had 25 more points (I would guess they were issues brought up by the residents to address), but decided not to, asking the Panel if they had any questions for him.  They had 3.

1. Why is the building so high?

A: We have a mandate to work within what is already presently there. 7 storeys is a significant offering to the street. There is an enormous amount of amenity in buildings these days. Hollowing out the centre does this.  High is an appropriate form.  Marrickville Town Hall has enormous height.  Any building next to a railway should be a public building.

2. Why haven’t you included solar panels?

A: Technology would be token. We do not have the solar cells. Better would be passive like not being required to turn the light switches on. (All 180 units have reverse cycle air-conditioning. Now that’s green.)

3. Had you considered a green roof?

A:  Not an environmental mandate.  You have to water a green roof. To what end is pumping water up to the roof? (Actually, I have read that certain succulents routinely used for green roofs planted on a purpose-built green roof base do not need watering, survive solely on rainwater & can sustain long periods without water)

So there you have it. The local people at the meeting left angry.  I feel very sad.  This building is just the start of high-rise development in Marrickville town centre.  The only building that I have heard discussed as having green requirements, is the Marrickville Hospital site. I can only hope that the new Local Environment Plan includes green building & sustainability such as green roof, green walls, solar power, decent sized trees & green space as a mandate.

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