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Metro quarter to open without trains

The construction of large buildings around a new metro railway station at Waterloo in Sydney's inner south will be fast-tracked after planning for them was separated from the massive redevelopment of a nearby Public housing estate, writes Matt O'Sullivan in The Sun Herald of 27 May 2018.

The split means the so-called metro quarter at Waterloo, above an underground, railway station in the city's $20 billion-plus metro project, will be finished as early as 2022, two years before the first trains are due to start running' on the second stage of the new line.

But the decision has sparked an outcry from groups who say the acceleration of planing for the metro quarter will not give public housing tenants in the adjoining Waterloo estate enough time to be consulted on major changes to their suburb.

Community group REDWatch said there was a rush to push the plans for the metro station development "through at any cost, with absolutely no regard for the vulnerable community" living nearby.

"The decision has been made to decouple [planning for the metro quarter] because they want to push forward with the metro," REDWatch spokesman Geoffrey Turnbull said. "They are trying to get as much money as they can [from the over-station development] so they can offset the cost of the metro [to government]."

The quarter involves an over station development that will comprise shops, new homes, community services and a plaza in an area bound by Botany Road, Cope, Raglan and Wellington streets. Properties have already been compulsorily acquired and buildings demolished for the precinct.

Plans for the larger Waterloo estate redevelopment next door will result in 30-storey towers Matavai and Turanga, the four 16-storey blocks known as the Solander, Marton, Banks and Cook buildings, and a number of walk-up flats being demolished. That redevelopment of about 13 hectares of land owned by the government and mainly used for social housing will occur over 15 to 20 years.

UrbanGrowth, the government owned development agency, and  Transport for NSW said in a joint statement that community consultation on the metro quarter would be undertaken first, followed by consultation on the Waterloo social housing estate.

They said people would be shown concept plans for an integrated station development and how it ''benefits and connects" to the Waterloo estate, over the next two months.

The Department of Family and Community Services said more than 1570 people took part in consultation last year. A spokesman said people would be "given an appropriate amount of time" before the next consultation in early July, which would help form a master plan for the redevelopment that "reflects the communities' needs and hopes".

An on line version of this story is has some additional details you can see this on the SMH site as Waterloo metro station plans to outpace housing redevelopment