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City's bold remake will need a great pitch to locals

A KEY lobby group has questioned whether local communities will back the NSW government's ambitious rollout of urban renewal projects, claiming it will need strong local support to deliver $65 billion worth of housing and associated infrastructure reports Lisa Allen in The Australian of 13 March 2014.

However, Urban Growth NSW chairman John Brogden said three of the proposed five projects, including the redevelopment of a 20km stretch of Parramatta Road, would change the face of inner Sydney.

The projects include the Newcastle Urban Renewal and Transport Program, Parramatta Road Urban Renewal Program, Parramatta North Urban Renewal and, closer to Sydney, the Green Square Town Centre.

"The need for urban renewal on Parramatta Road is absolutely critical," Mr Brogden told The Australian. "There are parts of Parramatta Road that are Third World but have enormous capacity for urban renewal."

But the most contentious of the five projects slated for public and private land from Newcastle to Parramatta is a series of 20 to 30-level apartment towers above the railway lines stretching for 3km from Central Station to Eveleigh.

Double the size of Barangaroo and including upgrades to Central and Redfern stations, the development would include high-density housing, hotels and the expansion of tertiary facilities.

Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson said Central Station to Eveleigh was a bold and costly project, requiring construction of a platform above the railway lines.

"That requires a lot of development to be able to fund that infrastructure and whether the government is bold enough to grasp the heights that will be needed, which will be 30 storeys instead of six storeys, is the real question," Mr Johnson said.

"If local community groups think it will be six levels, that will not fund the cost of building cement slabs above the railway line."

Mr Brogden questioned whether people would get "hung up" over the issues of building over a railway line between Central and Eveleigh. "Building over 20 storeys above the railway line would be the engineering equivalent of climbing Mount Everest," he said.

Mr Johnson said the North Parramatta Urban Renewal would also be difficult because of a plethora of heritage buildings.

Although the Newcastle redevelopment was desperately needed, it was a matter of whether the economics would stack up in the short term.

"It may take longer to get that eastern precinct with the GPT Group land happening to the extent their proposals indicate."

Closer to Sydney, Mr Johnson conceded the Green Square urban renewal project was taking too long. "It's a pity it has taken so long because other housing like that at Victoria Park has been going very well," he said.

"It is surprising Green Square has taken quite so long to get going."

The NSW government said more major urban renewal projects would be added to the rollout.

"There are a lot of exciting projects. This will make or break urban growth, they are desperately needed projects," Mr Brogden said.

Photo: John Brogden, chairman of Urban Growth NSW, says building and infrastructure projects for inner Sydney are critically needed. Picture: Sam Mooy Source: News Corp Australia

Source: The Australian 13 March 2014 - www.theaustralian.com.au/business/property/citys-bold-remake-will-need-a-great-pitch-to-locals/story-fnko7zi0-1226852906201#