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Urban Transformation Study - 21 November 2016

The UrbanGrowth Central to Eveleigh Urban Transformation, which we have been waiting much of 2016 to see in the end did not go through Cabinet as initially expected. Instead it was released in conjunction with the Greater Sydney Commission Central District Plan which makes reference to it.

With the release of the Greater Sydney Commission District Plans Urban Growth has released its long awaited Central to Eveleigh Urban Transformation Strategy.

The study has been finalised without the promised transport study being undertaken. It has also been finalised without the community having a chance to comment on it as initially proposed. Also contrary to earlier undertakings that supporting studies would be released - to date the study dealing with housing diversity and affordable housing has not been released.

At a briefing for agencies held by UrbanGrowth we were advised that any comments or concerns about the Strategy should be addressed directly to the Greater Sydney Commission which would pass any comments on to it. As far as UrbanGrowth is concerned the strategy is finalised – future discussions, including about planning controls, will happen in the next phase of discussions around the Master Planning of particular precincts.

There are now only five precincts - the Central Station end has been given to Transport for NSW to handle – Waterloo public housing will be led by Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) as will South Eveleigh when LAHC decide to develop this site. The North and South Eveleigh sites are now referred to as Redfern to Eveleigh. The Newtown end of North Eveleigh is referred to as the North Eveleigh precinct - it already has an approved concept plan that UrbanGrowth will seek to vary to redevelop this site in line with the plans it has developed. The remaining site is the Redfern Station precinct which also includes the eastern end of North Eveleigh. More planning will be undertaken in 2017 for Redfern station however the strategy shows “Key Move One – Renew Redfern Station” remains “subject to approvals and funding availability”. The bulk of the eastern end of North Eveleigh remains of operational interest to rail so much work needs to be done before the Redfern Station Precinct progresses.

The announcement of Waterloo Station has been injected into the strategy as “Key Move 5” pushing out the earlier “Promote live-work environments” to elsewhere in the strategy - thus keeping the number of key moves at ten.

Residents in the area are encouraged to read the UrbanGrowth document and raise any concerns they have about it as the content of this report may be used in the finalisation of the statutory district plans, so any problems with UrbanGrowth’s strategy needs to be highlighted during the exhibition.

Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) district plans

You can download the plan for our Central District (covering our local area) and related materials from www.greater.sydney/central-district - the direct link to the statutory Central Plan PDF is http://gsc-public.s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/draft_central_district_plan_0.pdf

At the outset it is important to point out that the District Plans introduce a new region called “Sydney City” – this area includes the contiguous areas of Sydney CBD, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont, The Bays Precinct, Camperdown-Ultimo Health and Education, Central to Eveleigh, Surry Hills and Sydney East. So if you live in one of these areas the details about what will happen in “Sydney City” in the Central Plan might also apply to you. You can see a map and some explanation of this on page 34 of the Central Strategy.

The pdf of the district plan is searchable so we suggest you search for your suburb and surrounding suburbs (or other keywords of interest) to get a quick idea of what is specifically mentioned about your area of interest. The document covers many planning areas so while a quick search will find references to your query you should also look generally at the plan to understand what it is covering.

One of the new initiatives in the Greater Sydney Commission District Plans is to recognise the importance of Social Housing and to start planning for Affordable Housing for family incomes that are low (up to $67,600) and very low (up to $42,300). The Affordable Housing target of 5-10% of uplift however depends on viability. It has been attacked by affordable housing proponents as being too low compared to what is happening in other cities. On the other side the announcement has been attacked by developer groups as being unnecessary or as driving up housing prices.

Sydney Alliance members joined with Shelter NSW and Tenants Union in an Open Letter top Mike Baird on Affordable Housing asking for a higher affordable housing target. Sydney Alliance is also encouraging their members to use the district plan exhibition over the next few months to lobby for an increased target for affordable housing. Section 4.4 in the Central District Plan on pages 99 – 105 deals with improving housing diversity and affordability.

The district plan exhibition is on until end of March 2017 and you can make a submission on the plan and any concerns about the Central to Eveleigh Urban Transformation Strategy on line.