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Sydney Uni Explains February Changes to Buisness School Plans

The South Sydney Herald in preparing an article for their March Issue put a number of questions to Sydney University. It was not possible to cover all the material in the paper article so SSH passed the statement to REDWatch so we could make the statement publicly available when the paper was published.

The University has consulted widely with major stakeholders including the community, City of Sydney, Department of Education, Darlington Public School and Department of Planning.  As a consequence of the consultation process, a guiding set of principles were developed. These principles are:

1.       Reducing the overall bulk and scale of the original proposal

2.       Integrating the joinery workshop building to keep a meaningful heritage connection to previous uses of the site

3.       Maintaining the large Sydney Blue Gum tree and the existing corner park as a key part of the landscape strategy

4.       Significantly increasing building setbacks to Codrington Street and Darlington Public School

5.       Increasing pedestrian access throughout the development precinct

To deliver on these principles, there have been some tradeoffs in the overall design. 

To answer your specific questions:

SSH Question - Why is a car park needed under this building (the number spaces in the car park has been cut back by about a third in the current presentation)

Car parking is required under the building in order to replace the existing on-street car park spaces which will be eliminated once the building works commence, to comply with the City of Sydney design guidelines and to allow service deliveries to be made to and from the building. It is also in accordance with the masterplan vision of a pedestrian priority campus with readily accessed car parking stations serviced by arterial, sub-arterial and major local roads.  The reduction in car parking  numbers is also in accordance with the City of Sydney guidelines.

SSH Question: Why has the car park entrance not been moved from Abercrombie Street as per the July undertakings?

The extensive consultation process highlighted a number of issues which have since formed the guiding principles. The car parking entrance is located off Abercrombie Street as it means other competing principles such as pedestrian access through the site, retention of the Sydney Blue Gum tree, retention of the old Joinery workshop and a reduced building scale can be achieved. It should be noted Abercrombie Street is classified as an arterial road north of Cleveland Street and a sub-arterial road route south of Cleveland Street. It currently carries 6,300 vehicles per day near Codrington Street and under its classification, has the capacity to carry up to 20,000 vehicles per day.

The new design has considered the pedestrian environment by providing an east – west pathway, parallel to Abercrombie Street, suitable for bicycles, prams and specifically designed for school children. It provides direct access from Abercrombie Street to a newly proposed gate entrance at the Darlington Public School. This pathway avoids any vehicular crossovers, existing or proposed, and has been developed in conjunction with the Department of Education.

Further, a second pathway traverses the site from Abercrombie Street to Darlington Lane providing alternate site access to the School and the proposed location for the Boundary Lane Child Care Centre. As part of the redevelopment of the precinct, the University proposes to relocation the Boundary Lane Child Care Centre to Darlington Lane, provide direct parking access for parents, refurbishment an existing derelict building to become office accommodation and encourage greater pedestrian activity in the precinct. Also, the University has created a permanent bus parking bay for the school at their entrance in Golden Grove Street.

SSH Question - Is the retention of the Joinery currently stopping the relocation of the entrance?

The Abercrombie Street car parking entrance supports the preservation of other principles such as pedestrian access through the site and to the school, retention of the Sydney Blue Gum tree and retention of the old Joinery workshop.

SSH Question: What other alternatives exist that would allow both the retention of the Joinery Workshop and no access from Abercrombie Street and why are they not feasible?Extensive analysis has been undertaken into three other options.

This information will be contained in the traffic assessment which will go on public exhibition during the development application process.

This is an overview of the options and constraints / benefits of each:

Darlington lane access : Originally considered the best alternative it was discounted as an option for a number of reasons:

 Access from Darlington Lane, which is presently 4m wide would require significant land resumption to allow an appropriate sweep path for trucks and cars to enter and exit the car park.

  • Due the topography of the site, a car park access would need a 16m+ ramp from Darlington Lane to behind Mandelbaum House to achieve access into the car park. The ramp construction would impact upon the root systems of the trees in the School, requiring their removal.

  • The invasive nature of the ramp would prevent pedestrian pathways through the site and to the school.

 Codrington Street access:  Two locations were considered in Codrington Street.

  • The first location was along the easement of Rose Street however further exploration found a significant amount of services located in this area. While these could be removed at considerable cost to the University, this location would be in direct conflict with the pedestrian access which includes some 6,000 students walking along Codrington Street to the Business School and Darlington campus. Codrington Street already records a high level of pedestrian and vehicular accidents.

  • The second location would follow the alignment of Boundary Lane and would require the removal of the Joinery workshop and prevent any opportunities for direct pedestrian access through the site.  Due to the ramp construction, this option would quite possibly adversely impact upon the health and longevity of the Sydney Blue Gum tree.

Abercrombie Precinct redevelopment update 1st March 2012

The submission of the Abercrombie Precinct Redevelopment with the Department of Planning has been delayed as we continue to finalise plans for the project.

Over the past few months we have been consulting with our stakeholders, including the local community, to develop a new plan that compliments the character and heritage of Darlington.   

The University is committed to building a world-class business school that also provides a space that the community can use and be proud of. In order to achieve this we believe that the current project requires more time to get it right. This time will also allow us to ensure that the current deliverables are achievable within the assigned budget.

We will continue to keep you up to date and will communicate the new submission date when it is confirmed.

Project details and updates are available at www.sydney.edu.au/abercrombie_precinct   

Source: Media statement to South Sydney Herald 23 February 2012 and 1 March 2012