Log in

Forgot your password?
You are here: Home / UrbanGrowth, SMDA & RWA Plans & Activities / Built Environment Plan Phase 1 - The State Significant Sites / North Eveleigh Precinct / Chief Mechanical Engineers Building / Chief Mechanical Engineers Building (CME) SSDA Exhibition - extension until 28 February 2023 if by email

Chief Mechanical Engineers Building (CME) SSDA Exhibition - extension until 28 February 2023 if by email

--- ALERT : REDWATCH HAS BEEN ADVISED THAT DUE TO LATE RELEASE OF THE CMP DOCUMENTS THAT SUBMISSIONS WILL BE RECEIVED UP UNTIL 28 FEBUARY IF SENT BY EMAIL TO THE PLANNER. IF YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS MAKING A LATE SUBMISSION EMAIL US AT MAIL@REDWATCH.ORG.AU --- The Transport Asset Management Entity (TAHE) and Transport for NSW (TfNSW), which are handling the redevelopment of Redfern North Eveleigh, have put forward a proposal for the adaptive reuse of Chief Mechanical Engineers building on Wilson Street. The proposal is on exhibition through the NSW Major Projects portal until 21 February 2023.

The Chief Mechanical Engineers Building (CME) SSDA is listed in the Major Project database under 505 Wilson Street, Redfern - CME Building. THis is also where you make your submissions.

The CME building, is listed as a State Heritage item (Item #01139) under the Heritage Act 1977. It is a two-storey masonry and brick building in the Victorian style built in 1887 and subsequently extended in 1900 and 1920 to accommodate the expansion of NSW railways and demand for engineering services within the area. It was the primary administrative building for the whole Eveleigh Railway Workshops (ERW) housing the office of the Chief Mechanical Engineer as well as ordinary engineers, overseers, inspectors and various clerical staff. 

It currently contains 32 rooms and 3 bathrooms across two levels. Room sizes vary, with rooms at the eastern and western sides of the building being larger and the central rooms being smaller. Heritage fabric within the rooms include fireplaces, ceiling and wall detailing and cabinetry. Minor internal alterations over the years to these rooms included the addition of lighting and false ceilings, wall partitions and cabinetry. The site also includes an existing garden to the east of the CME building which has been left un-kept for several years. This area is known as the Eastern Gardens. 

The Development Application on exhibition proposes restoration of the building and alterations to make it suitable for current day use. Proposed works comprise new internal walls, doors, a lift, amenities, windows and new balustrades. Landscaping is proposed to improve the curtilage around the CME building and ensure the building is more accessible while retaining all trees on the site. New in-ground services including a new stormwater system and new sewer connection are also proposed. 

The questions for this exhibition relate to the trade-off between the original heritage values of this important heritage item and what is considered necessary to make it suitable for reuse. It’s about the appropriateness of the adaptive reuse and if Burra Charter conservation principles have been applied.  

Given that this exhibition is about the impact of the work on this heritage listed building, it is of major concern that the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the CME’s building, which the EIS says was prepared in 2022 has not been placed on exhibition with the other documents.  

Instead we have a Statement of Heritage Impact, as well as an Aboriginal Heritage Due Diligence and a Historical Archaeological Assessment. Appendix B of the Statement of Heritage Impact, has a table assessment against the CME’s CMP Policies but the CMP itself has not been released.  

The first policy referenced in the CME CMP Policy assessment section states: “The present CMP should be used as the principal document to guide the conservation and management of the CME Building. This CMP should be adopted by TAHE and TfNSW”. Presumably the 2022 CMP that is supposed to be the principle document governing what happens to the CME’s building has not yet been adopted by TAHE and TfNSW.  

Nor it would appear that TAHE and TfNSW are prepared to publically exhibit the CMP to gain feedback from the community. This is a major concern. While CMPs for South Eveleigh were released for comment and are publically available, TfNSW has not released CMPs for Redfern Station, nor now for the CME building. 

Appendix B of the Statement of Heritage Impact also assesses the proposed changes to the CME building against the Overarching CMP which was released as part of the Paint Shop Precinct documents and can be seen - Updated Eveleigh Railway Workshops Overarching Conservation Management Plan and Addendum to Eveleigh Railway Workshop Overarching Conservation Management Plan

REDWatch has argued since the Redfern Waterloo Authority was established in 2004 that the CME Building should be restored and bought to an appropriate use rather than left to deteriorate until the fate of the rest of North Eveleigh was determined. It is pleasing to see this is now happening, even if it has allowed almost 20 years unnecessary decay. What is of concern is that not all the relevant documents to do the adaptive use assessment required in this DA have been released. 

TfNSW has run a Registration of Interest (ROI) process to gauge interest in moving into the building and is currently near the end of its Expression of Interest (EOI) process. The changes proposed in this DA are to make the building suitable for whoever gains the building to be able to move in. Depending on the activity of the successful applicant, a use DA may be required. 

The main summary document for this exhibition is CME Final EIS. This document includes up to Appendix E, The rest of the appendices as separate documents that can be downloaded from the exhibition page for 505 Wilson Street, Redfern - CME Building. 

Below REDWatch has prepared a guide to the documents in the order used by the EIS to help people easily find the report they are interested in.

Exhibition Documents – direct links

Please note that since the exhibition started TfNSW have supplied some reports also in a form that meets Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These files contain WCAG after their name and have the same content as the non WCAG versions. 

Chief Mechanical Engineer’s Building Environmental Impact Statement (Main Document)

Conservation Management Plan - At the end of the Exhibition TfNSW also released the Conservation Management Plan for the CME building. The direct links for these files are:

Site Context and SEARS

Produced by REDWatch 28 Jan 2023 Updated 21 Feb 2023

Filed under: