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Brewer's plan for Broadway site leaves residents reeling in horror

THE Carlton & United Breweries site in Broadway will become a "mini-Manhattan on steroids", its neighbours fear after graphic images of the potential new city skyline were shown at a meeting. Report by Sherrill Nixon Urban Affairs Editor Sydney Morning Herald August 18, 2006.

The images, which drew horrified gasps from Chippendale residents and business owners, show a 110-metre high apartment block, directly opposite and only four metres shorter than the detested brown tower of the University of Technology, Sydney.

The proposed skyscraper is about 36 storeys and appears to be surrounded by two apartment and office blocks of about 75 metres, other towers of about 50 metres and a series of smaller buildings that dramatically alter the gateway to the city and extend the CBD skyline southwards.

The site's owner, Foster's, has refused to release the images for publication in the Herald, or to the residents who attended Tuesday's meeting because "they would be wrong".

It says the images, which show the maximum height allowed under flight path restrictions, were prepared to "demonstrate the different kinds of concepts that are being developed".

"There's a lot of work to be done in terms of finalising how the final development will look," a spokesman for Foster's, Geoff Donohue, told the Herald.

The public meeting was called by the expert panel advising the Planning Minister, Frank Sartor, who took over planning control of the $1 billion development in June.

The panel's chairman, a former government architect, Chris Johnson, who works for Mr Sartor, was accused of running a "token meeting" that was misleading and insulting because he could not provide details of Foster's plans.

He was questioned about the potential density of the development because locals are convinced Foster's will be allowed a much higher density than the City of Sydney Council was prepared to accept when it was negotiating with the company.

A scoping paper submitted by Foster's shows that it wants to develop 260,000 square metres of floor space, including 1800 apartments.

Professor Johnson said the panel had not concluded what the density should be, although it had asked Foster's to prepare the images that showed the maximum building height.

"We thought it was best to start with the maximum [height] and work back," he told the meeting.

"It [the tallest tower] wouldn't be as ugly [as the UTS tower]. It would be hard for us to do that … the question is whether this eyesore is helped by some neighbourly support."

A spokeswoman for the Chippendale community, Jeanette Brokman, said the images showed a mini-Manhattan overshadowing a heritage village.

"That makes you think you are going to get Greenwich Village. This is more about mini-Manhattan on steroids. This is the ugly side of New York," she said.

Locals also questioned the planning process, under which Professor Johnson will submit his panel's report to Mr Sartor by the end of this month, before Foster's lodges its plan for the 5.8-hectare site. It is unclear if the panel's advice will ever be made public, although the Foster's plans will go on public exhibition.

A City of Sydney councillor, John McInerney, said the process ignored two years of work by the council and the Central Sydney Planning Committee.

"We are now being presented with what Foster's really wants, what they need to make enough profit for themselves," Cr McInerney said.

The Printed Herald article had an artistist impression of the CUB proposal. A photo of one of the slides shown to the public meeting which also shows one of the maximum height possibilites can be seen at CUB Site

The Planning NSW site contains the Scoping Paper prepared for Fosters which sets out what they want from the site.