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Coalition Chippendale Community Groups Initial Response to Frasers Concept Plan

This is a copy of Chippendale News of 6th August 2008 from the Coalition Chippendale Community Groups. This issue primarily deals with The Fraser's Modified Concept Plan for the Former CUB Broadway site (on Exhibitions). It also includes information on: Balfour Street Park - Meeting 6pm - Thur 7 Aug / Urban Design Study - Changes to planning controls / Plans for Eveleigh / Chippendale “Peepshow”.

This Update includes:

1. Former CUB Site - Plans finally released for public comment

2. Balfour Street Park – Community Consultation – 6pm Thursday

3. Urban Design Study - Chippendale

4. Proposed changes to Eveleigh

5. “Peepshow” – Chippendale, behind closed doors

1. Former CUB Site - Plans finally released for public comment

Expert advice and community feedback has been ignored in the “revised” plans, Frasers are now proposing for the former CUB site.  Sadly this follows an expectation that Frasers would address some key concerns relating to bulk and scale.  

Released for public comment, the “revised” plans follow the site’s purchase by Frasers Property from Fosters last year. We urge you to take the time to look at the plans and comment.   These can be found on the Department of Planning’s website  - http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/asp/06_0171_mod.asp

On exhibition till 1 September, the Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, will subsequently consider whether to approve the plans or ask for some changes.

The plans can also be viewed (and full set of documents accessed) at the office of the Department of Planning in Bridge Street and at the City of Sydney.  Locals have also been promised that a display will be available at the UTS – however there is some confusion about the access times and what can be seen (we have sought clarification and urged Frasers to organise a shopfront in Chippendale).

Fraser's Broadway Modified Concept Plan from Sydney University Fisher Library

With major redevelopment set for the former CUB site and Eveleigh (to Chippendale’s immediate south) the character and culture of the whole area is under threat.  

The evolution of plans for both sites now raises significant concerns.  Whilst locals accept that major development will occur, the size, scale and type of development is crucial in maintaining any sense of our local heritage village areas.

In the case of the former CUB site, locals have long lobbied to improve the Concept Plan.

Approved in 2007, this followed the Minister for Planning’s intervention.  The plans regarded as highly controversial, already allow a gross overdevelopment of the site

Whilst there are many terrific initiatives in Frasers “revised” plans- which respond to some initiatives locals have long lobbied for (design and environmental initiatives), the bottom line is - inappropriate massing and scale. 

Increased by another 10%, the gross floor area (the Floor Space against land area ratio - FSR) is now proposed to increase to a whooping 257,000 GFA (ie after open space, roads, etc is accounted for) with a $32 windfall for the Government in terms of a special levy.

In terms of mass and scale – the massing has been shifted (and increased) resulting in some of the City’s largest commercial floor plates- not only does the bulk totally dominate the Abercrombie Street frontage, but also puts inappropriate demand on local infrastructure.  For your convenience some attached images are enclosed (please remember the Concept Plan does not lock in the actual design – its sets the massing, height, public roads and open space etc).

Highly controversial too, are the actual heights on Abercrombie Street and Broadway which have been substantially increased – please note it appears the heights do not take into account ‘any rooftop features”. “

Residents Montage from Wattle Street - Before

Broadway Opposite Wattle Street Before

Resident's Montage from Wattle Street - After

Broadway Opposite Wattle Street After (Resident's montage)


Fraser's Broadway Concept Plan from Wattle and Broadway

Broadway Opposite Wattle Street After (Frasers montage)

Whilst specific population counts are not clearly defined - the detailed reports show over 6,000 “new” workers and 1,400 units for the site. In addition a 100 room hotel is proposed.  

The increased density flies in the face of expert opinion which suggests the site should only accommodate an FSR of 3:5:1 given the site’s constraints.  In short, the proposed GFA and changes in land use result in a density long rejected by the Jury in the Design Competition a few years ago.

Compare this density with say Barangaroo, the city’s largest redevelopment site, which has an FSR under 2:1 or say Jackson’s Landing (including all the “mega” tall apartment blocks) which has an FSR of 2.5:1.  Given the controversy that surrounds the approval process last year, fears are held about due process and the blatant discord with public expectations. 

In addition, to concerns about bulk and scale, locals fear traffic generation will substantially increase as a result of the proposed “parking initiatives”. Whilst the PR spin, suggests traffic will reduce (when compared to the current plan), the proposal to allow “dual and complimentary use” – will generate traffic 24/7, to a retail/entertainment area on the site and in Kensington Street (proposed to be privately held).

Unfortunately controls for sunlight access remain highly controversial with the minimum standards “stretched” to argue that the plans comply. This “stretch” assumes daylight to balconies (vs. living rooms) are taken into account - with early morning and late afternoon “sunlight” argued as sufficient. In reality the development is non-compliant with the usual minimum standards for NSW – this is a damning precedent for future developments in the area.  In the case of some residential buildings the actual “daylight” access vs. real sunlight access is less than 50% - with Frasers arguing the minimum standards are achieved due to an averaging factor.

Another key issue is the “open space”   Whilst there is a lot of spin about the increased open space, it appears only the Main Park is guaranteed as publicly accessible.  

Disturbingly, the new “Piazza” adjoining the Main Park is designated as privately owned as well as what our long promised Balfour Street Park.  Other concerns include the proposed land use for the whole site – this is shown as Mixed Use other than the Main Park (including Balfour Street Park). In addition reference is made in the detailed reports to a wall, alongside Wellington Street with the open space along here designated as privately owned.

In addition, the $2.5M promised to Chippendale for the purposes of developing community facilities in Chippendale is now under threat, with the Voluntary Planning Agreement proposed to change.

Whilst the PR spin over recent months has highlighted some key initiatives, now that the actual changes can be seen in detail - key concerns are held about a number of important issues

Clearly Frasers have financial constraints.  This is understood, particularly given the 5 and 6 star “targets”.  Locals are however particularly disappointed that the density and massing has been pushed up vs. appropriate solutions found.  As the key research shows - inflated density has a direct link with social sustainability, identity, safety and security.

One of the key challenges is to convince the State Government who appear set to allow over development of a couple of key development sites locally vs. the sustainable development initiatives across a wider suburban area.   The Government’s vested financial interests as a consequence of a special developer levy also raises concerns.  Sadly it appears the community is now leading the charge in terms of promoting better and more sustainable solutions.  

Whilst Frasers have appointed a team of world known architects and designers, the bottom line is the increased bulk and scale.  In short, plans for the site’s massing and scale have gone too far, without adequate integration with the immediate heritage and low-scale heritage precinct.  Clearly Frasers team of architects and consultants have a brief to deliver. 

We now urge you to take the time to see the plans and comment.  Please urge the State Government to take stock and not increase the density to be increased. This will be our last chance to make comment – before plans for the site get underway.  We urge you to make your voice heard.

We are currently preparing a detailed response to the plans – if you are able to help or would like us to include your feedback - please let us know.

2. Balfour Street Park – Community Consultation – 6pm Thursday

Earlier this year the City of Sydney finally approved the closure of Balfour Street.  A concept plan was drafted at the time. 

We have since urged Council to seek community feedback.  This has been organised for Thursday at 6pm at the Pine Street centre (64 Pine Street). The draft Concept Plan can be viewed on the City’s website.

If you would like to make comment however are unable to attend, please contact the Council Officer, Lisa Dodd on 9246 7693.  

3. Urban Design Study - Chippendale

The city proposes to change the planning controls for the wider local area.  This includes accommodating the State Government’s Metro and Subregional Strategies which require a substantive increase in the working and residential population in the City’s local government area. It is interesting to note the sub regional strategy which is now on exhibition for public comment designates Chippendale as a health and education area for Sydney.

The Urban Design Study for Chippendale is now available for your input. This is an important document which we urge you to review and comment on as the document is intended to be used  to inform changes to the local planning controls – which are due to come out this year.

Given the State Government’s agenda to promote substantive density increases to the south of the City, along a “global arc”, the study suggests increases in height and FSR to many parts of our suburb.  

The changes whilst in part are subtle, need to be seen in concept of what is likely to occur – particularly as it appears there is a height bracket creep, ie the plans suggest an extra storey may be easily added on where a row of terraces is flat roofed.    In some parts of the area – substantive changes are proposed.

We are preparing a detailed response and welcome your feedback.

4. Proposed changes to Eveleigh

Much has been in recent media reports.  At stake is the wonderful heritage on the Eveileigh railway yards, with the State Government looking to maximise its density (as the owner) and the University of Sydney looking to acquire the site.

We urge you to find out more and make your comments by visiting Redwatch site - http://www.redwatch.org.au/

5. “Peepshow” – Chippendale, behind closed doors

Locals were last week invited to a meeting in relation to this.   We understand the peepshow is being funded by Council.  To be held in October where a  “PEEPSHOW” is being organised as part of the Art & About Festival on Sunday 19 October 2008.

If you would like more information or be involved, please contact http://www.queenstreetstudio.com/peepshow.html

Source:  The Coalition Chippendale Community Groups Chippendale News 6th August 2008 communityworkingparty@yahoo.com.au