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Darlington’s forgotten street

In 2005, the SSH reported on the Redfern Chamber of Commerce and local business owners’ proposal to maintain and preserve the shop fronts on Abercrombie Street. City of Sydney Councillor John McInerney visited the area, informing locals of future action to be taken. The $20 million Redfern upgrade granted at that time, was to be shared between Redfern, Regent and Abercrombie Streets reports Amanda Robb in the South Sydney Herald of May 2009.

It is now 2009, and the local residents and business owners of Abercrombie Street are still waiting.

Newsagent owner, Andrew Packham, asks, “Has Council washed its hands of this precinct?”

Owner of Tripod Café, James Rebbeck, has, like many other vocal residents, raised his concerns about the future of Abercrombie Street.

Whilst paying the Council footpath rental fees, he still has no authority to maintain and perk up the presentation outside his café.

Peter Gencturk, owner of Papa Murphy’s, agrees with Rebbeck, adding the desperate need to clean up the street, by removing the graffiti and adding some new street furniture.

“We need to make this stretch look appealing. This is achievable – placing retaining walls in front of the cafes, creating outside seating like on Norton Street.”

However, Gencturk’s biggest battle is the need for a parking permit. Owning three shop fronts does not give him the right to a permit and he has paid over $3,000 in parking fines.

Rebbeck and Gencturk, alongside other shopkeepers, have felt the impact of the new Eveleigh Markets.

Whilst Rebbeck considers the markets a grand boost economically for the area, he states: “An integration of the markets with the already existing businesses, is in order, so they are not an opposing threat. My Saturday trade has noticeably decreased since the opening of the markets.”

Constructive suggestions were also made. Packham suggested a lighting orbit for the street “a must” for pedestrians travelling between the train station and the University at night. Rebbeck proposed a city bus route to be directed from the city down Cleveland Street to Newtown, via Abercrombie Street, bringing more people to the precinct. He also proposed the idea of a more communal feel in the area, such as a community notice board, facilitating an accessible focal point for local news and events.

Packham sums it up by stating: “Darlington is a blank canvas with positive potential. We are being neglected, and it is time our voice was heard, and action taken.”

Source: South Sydney Herald May 2009