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REDWatch Submission on the Redfern North Eveleigh Strategic Vision

This is the text of the REDWatch submission of 26 April 2021 on the Transport for NSW (TfNSW) Redfern North Eveleigh Strategic Vision.

Introduction and Context

While the current exhibition is about the North Eveleigh portion of Redfern North Eveleigh, this site is an integral part of both the wider Redfern Station and North Eveleigh precinct that will be assessed as a single site under the State Significant Precinct (SSP) requirements issued in December 2020.

In addition, North Eveleigh forms a part of the former Eveleigh Railway Workshops and in terms of heritage interpretation should be seem in the broader heritage context within the context of the proposed Eveleigh Railway Workshops Conservation Management Plan. Much heritage work has been done as part of the South Eveleigh redevelopment and it is important that the North Eveleigh Vision builds on and compliments what has been done at South Eveleigh.

Historically these two sides of the railway line were connected by pedestrian links. A vision for North Eveleigh must recognize and respond to this wider context. Currently the Vision is only for a stand-alone site, primarily focused on its proximity to Redfern station.

The site also sits within the new transport related movement desire line from the Waterloo Metro site to Sydney University, as well as the existing movement desire lines from Alexandria and Waterloo to Darlington and Newtown.

This has implications for non-station use of the Southern Concourse at Redfern Station and underlines the importance and potential for reinstating other cross railway line connections between North and South Eveleigh. Technology uses at both South and North Eveleigh would also benefit from agglomeration serviced by easy access across the railway line, as well as to Sydney University and surrounding business locations.

REDWatch notes that the SSP requirements include “a Movement and Access Plan setting out the proposed movement corridors, access and connectivity network throughout the precinct (and beyond), the types of movements to be captured through the precinct (i.e. walking, cycling, vehicles, machinery, employees etc. during a 24-hour period)”. Correctly, this requires TfNSW to look also at movements and connectivity beyond the SSP precinct and to put the site in its wider context. REDWatch supports this SSP requirement and makes its submission in the context of the wider area.

The North Eveleigh site also sits each side of Carriageworks and is adjacent to the Darlington Heritage Conservation area. It needs to both interact with and compliment both Carriageworks and its surrounding conservation area with primarily residential uses.

To the east of the site is the connection to southern and eastern buses that will service North Eveleigh. From the days of the Premier’s Department Redfern Waterloo Partnership Project in the early 2000s, tackling the barriers created by the twin arterial roads and the railway corridor was seen as the key to developing a well-connected precinct.

The Vision cannot ignore the southern and eastern bus connections to this site. As Transport for NSW and the Transport Cluster oversees roads, buses and rail it provides a unique opportunity to end the standoffs between previously separate agencies. With everyone around the same table it should be possible to deliver a well thought-out bus rail interchange which integrates with the road system and delivers a well-connected bus-rail interchange service for North Eveleigh.

While one of the Vision principles is “Connected people and places”, the Vision statement is weak on connectivity other than to Redfern Station. Even to Redfern station, it is only to “Investigate a direct pedestrian connection between the Precinct and Redfern Station”.

Previous studies have recognised that the site is land-locked and constrained in how it connects to the surrounding areas. Good connectivity will be the key to success for this project, both for the community benefit will provide and for the activity and access it can create for the site.

Vision needs to include North Eveleigh to South Eveleigh connectivity

Previous planning for North Eveleigh identified the need to connect north and south Eveleigh by re-instating connections across the railway corridor. When rail workshops were operational, there were three ways to cross the railway line. The Redfern Waterloo Authority (RWA) explored options for connections near Carriageworks and later towards Redfern Station. UrbanGrowth proposed linking the southern part of the site to Macdonaldtown station and potentially from there towards Alexandria and Erskineville.

Of this connectivity, “The Redfern North Eveleigh Strategic Vision” says “Investigate a direct pedestrian connection between the Precinct and Redfern Station and the feasibility of a pedestrian crossing over the railway corridor”. However, the opportunities and challenges diagrams (Fig 69 & 60) only show east-west movement opportunities and doesn’t include north-south movements. Overcoming the railway corridor barrier would create substantial movement through the site and associated retail opportunities for the development.

A north-south connection would also provide a significant community benefit by linking Alexandria and Waterloo to Darlington and Newtown. This would put a much larger number of residential properties in close proximity to North Eveleigh and increase the likelihood that people who work on the site will consider living locally rather than weighing up transit times between living in the inner west and walking around the railway corridor barrier.

TfNSW should undertake, as part of its Movement and Access Plan assessment, the impact of the railway barrier. Based on a quick Google maps analysis, if a bridge was placed near the Large Erecting Shop and landed near Carriageworks, the trip across the bridge would replace what is currently a 19-20 minute walk for the same journey. Such a bridge would make Alexandria around 10-15 minutes closer to the Carriageworks section of North Eveleigh even after the new Southern Concourse.

There is an issue with an overhead connection that needs to be addressed and this is the length required to provide a disability gradient to clear the railway lines. The initial RWA proposal at Carriageworks proposed a lift at each end. The proposal in its concept plan used the space around the ramping as public open space.

REDWatch understands that the Mirvac / Google / Sydney Uni unsolicited proposal for North Eveleigh addressed this problem by having the walkway connection from within a building on the North Eveleigh site. This option should also be explored early in planning for the site.

REDWatch notes that UrbanGrowth placed an easement on the South Eveleigh sale to allow a cross-corridor connection to land on the South Eveleigh site. Our discussions with various people in Mirvac and South Eveleigh indicate that a cross-corridor connection would be supported by Mirvac.

Given the lack of open space in North Eveleigh and Darlington, it was suggested at a recent REDWatch meeting that a green platform approach / highline across the rail corridor might provide some local amenity as well as a pedestrian cycle bridge. Such options should be considered as a signature move for the site.

We note that the Vision does propose to look at possibilities for connections under the railway line and this may be viable, but we note that the current tunnel does not go all the way across the corridor and new underground connections are constrained by the location of the dives. Because of the movement barrier created by the Locomotive Workshop, consideration needs to be given to how pedestrians would access the tunnel and how CEPTD principles would be applied to ensure safety and surveillance in a long underground tunnel.

There is no mention in the Vision of UrbanGrowth’s proposal for the Newtown end of the site to connect to Macdonaldtown station or beyond. Iverys Lane and through Pines Estate is shown as the connection to Macdonaldtown Station. Direct connection to Macdonaldtown station from North Eveleigh should be considered given government’s focus on transit-focused development. Such a connection could address disability access to Macdonaldtown station and provide an improved alternative for rail travellers from the inner west to the western North Eveleigh precinct and to Sydney University and RPA.

Creating connections across the railway corridor for walking and cycling was Key Move 3 proposed by UrbanGrowth.

Vision needs to address connectivity around Redfern Station

As mentioned in our overview, the problematic movements to and from buses to the east, and to and from the Waterloo Metro, are brushed over in the Vision by saying “A bus interchange area is located immediately east of the station, providing services to a range of locations across Sydney. The new Waterloo Metro Station, due to open in 2024, is located within a 15-minute walk from the Precinct”.

By its glossary, TfNSW refers to an interchange as having an “adjoining bus stop”. This definition certainly does not cover the distance from the new Southern Concourse to south-bound buses across two arterial roads with an uphill walk to pedestrian crossings. This bus stop is not “immediately east” nor adjoining. The Vision report says the nearest arterial road to the site is “the Princes Highway, approximately 230 metres to the north” and makes no reference to the Gibbons / Regent arterial pair to the East that impedes bus connection to North Eveleigh.

Currently even with buses that terminate at Redfern Station and then do a return southbound route, they are not allowed to pick up South bound passengers on Gibbons Street. All southbound passengers must cross the arterial twin pair to move from the station to the east of Regent Street. Depending on the let off point, it is doubtful that there is a disability acceptable gradient between buses and the station entrance in Redfern. The Southern Concourse will exacerbate this problem and create a new commuter desire line across Gibbons and Regent Streets in line with Marion Street.

REDWatch has suggested in its background paper on connectivity (attached) that a bus interchange should be explored in conjunction with the Southern Concourse and ESR over station development. It may be possible to provide an all-weather interchange under the ESR development or by “lifting” Marian Park and placing an interchange under it. In the absence of looping southbound buses or an interchange solution that brings Southbound buses closer to the station, there will be a need either to consider a pedestrian bridge across Gibbons and Regent Streets or to place new pedestrian crossings across these roads in line with Marian Street. These options require further work by the rail, road and buses components of TfNSW to deliver an integrated solution servicing North Eveleigh.

REDWatch understands that TfNSW is considering having more buses terminate at Redfern rather than Central and this will add to the number of commuters who will make bus-rail interchanges at Redfern.

It needs to be also understood that north-south bus routes will connect two rail lines (Airport and Metro) to the rest of the rail network running through Redfern. Many bus users will likely remain on buses to make these connections through Redfern rather than changing modes to go via Central or another connecting station.

The current opportunities and challenges diagrams in the Vision stop at Redfern Station with no indication of how they operate past there. A Vision for increasing development into North Eveleigh must show how those attending will safely connect to buses as well as trains. This includes all-weather connections to buses on Gibbons Street, solutions to re-route southbound buses through Gibbons Street, or safe and sheltered ways to move to southbound buses in Regent Street.

Connectivity around Redfern Station was a key part of Urbangrowth’s proposed Key Move 1 to renew Redfern Station.

Vision needs bike connectivity

Much is made of bike paths and of the use of walking and riding in the Vision but this focused on Wilson Street. The Opportunities and Challenges (Fig 60) shows the Wilson Street shared cycle way and an on road shared cycle way route within the North Eveleigh site. It also shows the bike path in South Eveleigh to which these cycle paths do not connect.

It is important to understand that the Wilson / Little Eveleigh / Lawson Street cycle way does not connect with the South Eveleigh Cycle way along Gibbons Street. Currently those who want to make this connection often ride on the Gibbons Street footpath through the pedestrian holding area for the Lawson / Redfern Street lights and the bus to rail desire line and road signage.

It is likely that with the opening of the Southern Concourse that many riders will wish to make the north-south connection via that Concourse. This is one of the reasons why REDWatch wants a 24-hours ungated Southern Concourse.

We urge TfNSW in the bike aspect of the Movement and Access Plan study, to make sure bike movements along Gibbons Street and north-south bike movements are properly assessed. Proper bike connectivity needs to be provided for those wishing to ride to and from the North Eveleigh site.

Vision needs a barrier free no ticketed Redfern Station Southern Concourse

While the Southern Concourse is under construction, we understand its ongoing operation has not yet been finalised and that its operation may change over time.

REDWatch expects that there will be heavy non-train access use of the Southern Concourse. Until a more central crossing point is built, the Southern Concourse will be the main link between Waterloo Metro and Sydney University, and between Darlington / North Eveleigh and South Eveleigh retail.

We note the Vision talks about the precinct being designed to be part of the 24-hour economy and yet currently closure of the concourse is considered when trains are not running. There is a strong business and community view that the concourse, because of the connectivity it provides across the railway line, needs to be open continually.

The nearest supermarket and potentially restaurants for some people in Darlington will now be at South Eveleigh. More student housing along Regent and Gibbons Streets also increase the number of pedestrians who will use the Southern Concourse as a connection rather than a way to access the rail system.

Given all this non-rail pedestrian traffic, the Concourse should operate, as far as practical, as a public thoroughfare. To allow wheelchairs, bikes, prams, trolleys and other hand held items easy access across the rail corridor the Southern Concourse should not be gated.

To facilitate movement, REDWatch would prefer tap on and tap off to be located, as it is at most other stations, at the platform level or at the top of stairs rather than at each end of the Southern Concourse.

It should be possible for people to move across the railway line without fear of penalty. No one should be fined $200 for crossing the Southern Concourse if they have not used the rail system. Ideally, sniffer dogs, and other activities that impair free movement, should also not be allowed to operate on the Southern Concourse.

At a minimum, a protocol should be put in place guaranteeing that Opal cards will not be requested or checked on the Southern Concourse.

Vehicle Access to the East of the North Eveleigh needs to be resolved

Even if the development was to be relatively car free, prolonged heavy vehicle access will be required for construction. There will also be an ongoing vehicle access requirement when the site is developed and for delivery vehicles after construction is completed. The resultant road structure will be a key factor in determining the final design for the site.

The current proposal (Fig 60) has only vehicular access from the Newtown end of the site and lists the Redfern end as “private service access point to the site” (Fig 59). The proposed Vision’s proposal to open up “access to the eastern half of the Precinct by extending Carriageworks Way as a key connecting access spine”.

This approach places vehicular traffic through the Carriageworks precinct in the middle of the site. The use of this part of the site for a road connection will have a major impact on this primarily pedestrian area and it will split Carriageworks use from the adjacent Blacksmith Shop for a road. Carriageworks use this space as an extension of the main building and the Blacksmith Shop for activities like Eveleigh Markets and some cultural activities.

As for earlier plans for North Eveleigh TfNSW needs to determine an eastern access point to the site.

TfNSW has pre-empted some of this discussion by its decision to place the entrance of the Southern Concourse into Little Eveleigh Street and creating a share zone for station users to enter and exit the station. This makes it very difficult to use Little Eveleigh Street as the North Eveleigh access point.

As requested by the community, a site wide movement analysis should have been undertaken prior to the Southern Concourse decision.

Lack of Plans to integrate North Eveleigh to South Eveleigh

The TfNSW strategic vision currently doesn’t seek to integrate with South Eveleigh either in terms of immediate connectivity or in leveraging movements from Waterloo Metro and Alexandria to Sydney University and RPA Hospital.

It also doesn’t look at how to integrate with the high tech tenants at South Eveleigh and how that might improve agglomeration and incubation.

Further, while the North Eveleigh Vision document uses many heritage photos from the Southern side of the former Eveleigh Railway Workshops, there is no indication it is interested in signing up to an integrated heritage interpretation which compliments what is happening at South Eveleigh.

While Mirvac, which runs South Eveleigh, is a developer that has previously lodged an unsolicited proposal for North Eveleigh, this should not be used as a reason for not exploring how North Eveleigh can integrate best integrate with its historical twin at South Eveleigh.

Aboriginal Affordable Housing

The Redfern Waterloo Aboriginal Affordable Housing Campaign has called for 10% Aboriginal Affordable housing on the development of all government owned land in Redfern Eveleigh Darlington and Waterloo. REDWatch supports that call for 10% affordable housing in North Eveleigh as a way of maintaining an active broad Aboriginal demographic in Redfern.

While the Vision report acknowledges the community asked for “dedicated Aboriginal housing and tenancies” the Vision on for all affordable housing is to “deliver at least 5%-10% affordable housing”. On the Waterloo South site, the City of Sydney is proposing 20% be affordable housing. A higher affordable housing component is needed to sit alongside the business incubation and start-ups and creative arts where people are often on low income. A higher target is also necessary where the project needs to also deliver dedicated Aboriginal affordable housing.

The Vision statement has a lot to say about involving the Aboriginal community in the development especially around the Government Architects’ “Designing with Country” and “Cultural Design Principles”. Given the significance of the area to the Aboriginal community, one of the key ways to respond to Country is surely to ensure that Aboriginal people continue to live in this area of such great significance to them. Aboriginal affordable housing has to be at the centre of this.

It should also be acknowledged that “Designing with Country” in Redfern-Waterloo is likely to be linked to the areas importance for the development of Aboriginal Organisations and Services. There is a rich Aboriginal contemporary history to draw on for interpreting country and ensuring the community in the area not only survives but also thrives.

Delivering a diversity of housing choice and tenure was ‘Key Move 10’ for UrbanGrowth.

Adaptive Reuse of Heritage Buildings

The Vision talks about a requirement for the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings. The Burra Charter principles should however be applied. Different heritage buildings require different approaches so this cannot be a one size fits all exercise. For example, the Chief Mechanical Engineers Building should not have its exterior impacted by its reuse.  The location of this building and the work already taken on the exterior lends itself to early delivery of activation of this State Significant building.

REDWatch is concerned about the mention about activating the long blank façade of industrial buildings with possible new openings. Presumably this refers to Carriageworks. The bay structure of Carriageworks lends itself to activation uses without damaging the heritage facades of buildings. Maintaining theses facades and their grandeur as much as possible should be a part of the Vision. Obviously, any activations of the Carriageworks building would need to be consistent with Carriageworks plans for the site.

In North Eveleigh, REDWatch is looking for a South Eveleigh Locomotive Workshop heritage outcome rather than a token Harold Park Tram shed one. In the South Eveleigh Locomotive Workshop adaption, there was a strong heritage interpretation plan involving both tangible and intangible heritage. There were definite heritage benefits derived from the development both for the site itself, but also for heritage as an ongoing asset of the site.

Heritage is more than the old buildings

One of the problem on the North Eveleigh side is that there is little other than the buildings to tell the heritage stories. Much work needs to be done to bring the people and processes stories to life on the North Eveleigh site. This also applies to Carriageworks as well as the TfNSW portions to be developed.

UrbanGrowth previously produced Eveleigh Stories but as Urbangrowth managed the Australian Technology Park it focused on South Eveleigh. South Eveleigh holds a large machinery collection and an active heritage blacksmith. There is no need for North Eveleigh to replicate this.

The challenge for North Eveleigh is to build upon the South Eveleigh heritage work so the story of the former railway workshops is told across the entire site. The redevelopment of the Locomotive Workshops forced Mirvac to look closely at heritage interpretation and how it told the Eveleigh heritage stories. North Eveleigh can build on and compliment the work done at South Eveleigh.

Ideally a single Eveleigh heritage walk app and approaches to sharing heritage information, signage and wayfaring could allow the North Eveleigh development to become part of something wider than just its own development.

Before UrbanGrowth was disbanded, it was working with the Heritage Office on a site wide Conservation Management Plan that aimed to ensure that both sides of the former Eveleigh Railway Workshops were interpreted as part of a whole site. Resurrecting this proposal and engagement with ex-workers and heritage practitioners familiar with this site will be crucial if the community is to end up with the heritage benefit possible from this site and not just some adaptively reused buildings.

REDWatch has been very active in pushing for the best possible heritage outcomes in the redevelopment of the former railyards and we will continue to push for an integrated heritage result through the North Eveleigh planning and development.

Opportunities exist for innovative heritage interpretation to tell the stories of people and processes on the North Eveleigh site. The North Eveleigh Blacksmith shop has some original hammers and Carriageworks has pulley shafts and other remnants that can be creatively used to compliment South Eveleigh and tell the stories from the northern side.

Opportunities exist for heritage displays and interpretation of the former railyards. One item not yet provided across the site is a heritage repository where items can be collected about the site from ex- workers.

One sensitive heritage area will be how the development deals with the fan of tracks, which is not a heritage building but rather rail lines that take up a significant area. Might this be an area for a park?

It is REDWatch’s view that resurrecting the site wide Conservation Management Plan and looking at complementarity across the two sites will be the key to a good heritage outcome.

TfNSW should take early briefings from Mirvac’s heritage consultants to understand what has been done at South Eveleigh and how it can be built upon at North Eveleigh and possibly at Redfern Station.

Great Places for Community – The lack of Parks

Great places for community are needed for success and it is concerning that the Vision has removed a park from the eastern half of the site that was present in the earlier North Eveleigh Master Plan.

Darlington has only one small park, Charles Keenan Reserve, which is loved to death with Council needing to periodically close the park to let the grass grow and couple of tiny resumed terrace site spaces. On the Newtown end where a park is proposed in the Vision, Hollis Park is nearby.

Parks should not be traded off between ends of the site and the concept needs to acknowledge the need for a park at the Redfern station end of the redevelopment. Previously this park was located around the pedestrian bridge that linked the eastern end of north and south Eveleigh. As mentioned previously a green platform / high line above the rail corridor may provide much needed green space as well as north-south connectivity.

While great places can also include hard surfaces and plazas, they are not a replacement for real grass. For real grass to survive there needs to sufficient green space to accommodate the use promoted by the density of the surrounding area.

Urban Growths ‘Key Move 2’ for the area was to create a green network and a key park would be part of delivering this move.

Responding to what has gone before

Many people living in the area will have been involved in earlier consultations about this site and they will be keen to understand what has been picked up from previous plans and what has been omitted and why.

While UrbanGrowth never delivered its Affordable Housing Study or its Transport Study, it did recommend 10 Key Moves. It is worthwhile looking back at those moves and to see how the TfNSW strategic vision responded to them. In this submission we have related some of our comments to the Key Moves proposed by UrbanGrowth that relate to North Eveleigh.

The Vision report seems to deal with the bits it likes from the Central to Eveleigh Urban Transformation Strategy on the last page of its analysis (page 54) but avoids others. UrbanGrowth’s Key Move 3 to “create walking and cycling connections across the railway corridor” is missing. Such a connection was a part of the RWA’s North Eveleigh Concept Plan.

Key Move 2 was to create a green network, but in the current proposal is mentioned only in the context that Wilson Street is part of broader green network identified by City of Sydney Council. The Vision statement retains the large park towards Newtown, but only talks about pocket parks being proposed in the Redfern Station end.

24 Hour Economy

During the 2020 consultation on North Eveleigh, the issue of the impact of some events at Carriageworks on surrounding residents was raised as an issue. The current state government proposal to move some areas, including in Eveleigh to a 24-hour and night-time economy needs to be handled very carefully. The area that is subject to this Vision is surrounded by residential areas with some mixed use. Ensuring resident amenity while conducting a 24-hour economy on a thin strip of land will likely have its challenges. These need to be considered early in the planning process.

Trading Off Vision Principle

Like the 2020 North Eveleigh forum presentations, the Vision is very high level. The challenge is really how the principles and possibilities explored in the presentations and Vision will be adapted to the local circumstances.

Like environmental considerations in development there will have to be trade-offs like green rooves vs solar collectors. These trade off will also come back to how prepared TfNSW, or the developers they sell to, is prepared to invest in the long term of the site and its Vision. This was identified as being one of the keys to success in one of the opening presentations in 2020.

The Vision document as it stands tell us some of what is possible, it does not relate the Vision to the site and assess its feasibility nor does it relate the Vision to TfNSW’s imperatives for a financial return or investment in the site. As a consequence TfNSW may be reluctant to provide a cross corridor pedestrian and cycle connection as the cost to TfNSW and the redevelopment is likely to trump what previous planners have said is a key need for the site.

Much more work needs to be done to firm up how these principles might be traded off against each other and against the financial imperatives before we get a clear idea of what the actual principles are likely to be for North Eveleigh.

When the Vision for North Eveleigh comes more into focus we will be happy to comment more.


In this submission, we have covered some of the main areas of concern to REDWatch. We have not commented upon many areas. This is not because we lack interest or concern in these areas but because we are of the view that the issues raised are the most important for the community.

REDWatch exists to try to ensure the community gets a real say in what happens in such developments.

REDWatch also tries to ensure that the community gains from the redevelopment of such sites and not just the government or the developer.

From REDWatch’s perspective, improved connectivity and amenity alongside a strong heritage outcome are key deliverables that the community want to see from the North Eveleigh redevelopment.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Redfern North Eveleigh Strategic Vision.



For Further Information, contact:

Geoffrey Turnbull


On behalf of REDWatch Inc

c/- PO Box 1567

Strawberry Hills NSW 2012                                           

Ph Wk: (02) 8004 1490                                                     




26 April 2021


Also attached is the REDWatch Background paper for its Redfern Station Connectivity Workshop on 22 April 2021 - REDWatch Redfern Station & North Eveleigh Connectivity