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Government and Developers to Bulldoze Sydney’s Heritage - CoS 22 June 2006

Commenting on the State Government’s take over of the Carlton & United Brewery Site (CUB) in Chippendale, Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said; “This is like saving the Rocks all over again. We have heritage buildings which the Government and developers want to bulldoze to put up high rise says a media relaes from the City of Sydney Council.

“Only community opposition and Green Bans stopped this happening – and look at the significant part of Sydney which has been preserved as a result. The Rocks significantly adds to Sydney’s character and it would have been a tragedy if it had been lost in the 70’s.

If these buildings aren’t retained, then a City asset will be destroyed. This is a unique opportunity to give this development character and preserve our history.

 “As a sophisticated global city, we should have moved beyond urban vandalism, but apparently the State Government hasn’t. Most of the development industry is responsible and have advanced well past the 1960s and 70s cowboy mentality of “bulldoze, build and ignore the public interest for a quick buck”.

Successful companies know this approach is short sighted and doesn’t deliver value to their development. To achieve acceptable shareholder value and ROI (return on investment) successful companies now adopt a triple bottom line approach which incorporates environmental sustainability, heritage conservation and high quality design principles in their approach to inner city urban renewal projects.

There’s been 3 heritage consultants involved in evaluating these buildings and 2 of them are the pre-eminent experts in Sydney. They all say the group of original brewery buildings on the site is just as important as the merit of individual buildings. They all reinforce the heritage value of this precinct. The State Government Heritage Office endorsed the site’s Conservation Management Plan.

Other development sites have respected and featured our history rather than destroying it.

There are a number of old brewery buildings on this site which can be retained, reused and incorporated as a feature in any new development. These buildings are an important part of Sydney’s history and the character of Chippendale and together these buildings make up a very special heritage precinct. 

Retention of this heritage fabric as part of the development has been earmarked in the City’s draft planning controls as a public “brewery square”. This special precinct has a rich tapestry of public spaces and laneways which are co-located and relate to the open space areas.  The two are linked and together provide a unique opportunity that is unavailable on any other re-development site in Sydney.

Extensive studies were undertaken to consider how this heritage precinct could be retained and allow higher densities on appropriate areas of the site, taking into account sun access and the relationship to surrounding buildings.

The State government is only interested in maximising density on this site to increase developer contributions. They are not interested in all the expert opinions or in preserving the unique character of the area – it’s just the upfront payment that matters, not history, and certainly not the public interest.

The process has been protracted because the landowner sought excessive floor space. If the Government increases the floor space beyond the level set by the City we will have slums of the future. The developer has tried to squeeze as much as possible on the site, at the expense of the site's heritage and decent amenity for surrounding and future residents.

The length of the complicated process is a direct result of State Planning laws. This includes a requirement for a "Voluntary" Planning agreement which allows the owner to dictate terms to deliver open space, community facilities, child care facilities and road connections.

The City's position was compromised by the State Government claiming three times as much money as the City could levy from the site. This money will be used by the Redfern Waterloo Authority away from the development zone, making it difficult to secure local benefits and placing pressure on the developer to seek more floor space.