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Twists and turns in Uni development

DARLINGTON: The Sydney University Business School plans will shortly be submitted to the Department of Planning for re-exhibition. The development is to be built within its Abercrombie Precinct adjacent to Darlington Public School and across Abercrombie Street from a row of residential terraces writes Lyn Turnbull in the South Sydney Herald of March 2012.

Since the University exhibited its initial plans last year it has further consulted groups including the community and school, Sydney Council and state Departments of Education and of Planning. As a result the University has made considerable modifications to its plans including: “Reducing the overall bulk and scale of the original proposal; Integrating the joinery workshop building to keep a meaningful heritage connection to previous uses of the site; Maintaining the large Sydney Blue Gum tree and the existing corner park as a key part of the landscape strategy; Significantly increasing building setbacks to Codrington Street and Darlington Public School; Increasing pedestrian access throughout the development precinct; Moving the entrance to the underground car park further away from the school.

While the car park entrance is no longer adjacent to the school it stillremains on Abercrombie Street, contrary to earlier undertakings to the community by the University Vice Chancellor and infrastructure staff that “[i]n response to concerns from residents and parents of school children, we have relocated the entry to the basement car park from Abercrombie Street to Darlington Lane”.

The University defends the decision about the entrance “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”.

The new design may have provided “an east-west pathway, parallel to Abercrombie Street, suitable for bicycles, prams and specifically designed for school children ... to a newly proposed gate entrance at the Darlington Public School [which] avoids any vehicular crossovers, existing or proposed ... developed in conjunction with the Department of Education” but it will not address increased traffic volumes past the school on what the University believes is an underutilised sub-arterial road.

In a letter to the Vice Chancellor Dr Michael Spence, resident group RAIDD (Residents Acting In Darlington’s Defence) wrote that “residents of Darlington already bear a greatly reduced amenity because of the large number of students ... seeking car parking, despite the fact that the University is well serviced by public transport”. While the University asserts that “the car parking is required under the building in order to replace the existing on-street car park spaces which will be eliminated by the building”, residents argue the Seymour Centre Car Park, less than 600 metres from the Business School site, sits virtually empty while students seek free parking on the surrounding streets.

Peripheral car parks are in line with the University’s Master Plan vision of a pedestrian priority campus. The problem for residents is that suburbs surrounding all sides of the University will bear the brunt of the university-generated traffic excluded from the centre of the campus.

Secretary of RAIDD and parent of a Darlington student, Mary Ellen McCue, said: “The suburb of Darlington has been radically altered by the University in recent decades and the residents have made and continue to make many sacrifices for the continued expansion and redevelopment of the University.” 

Project information and a model are on display in the foyer of the University’s Services Building, 22 Codrington Street, until Tuesday March 20, Monday to Friday 8.30am-4.30pm and on the University’s website:

Source: South Sydney Herald March 2012 -



Also see the RAIDD Media Release Uni Vice Chancellor Backflips and Sydney Uni Explains February Changes to Buisness School Plans