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High-rise decision brought back to earth

The NSW government has reversed a decision by the former Labor government to allow residential towers up to 19-storeys on one of the largest industrial sites in Sydney's inner west reports Matthew Moore in the Sydney Morning Herald of 15 March 2012.

The proposed heights, in the background, before they were reduced.

The proposed heights, in the background, before they were reduced.

The Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard, said the decision of the previous government directing the City of Sydney to increase proposed buildings' heights and density on part of the Ashmore industrial estate in Erskineville meant development would be ''completely out of character with the nearby area''.

He said the government supported the City of Sydney's resolution to remove the huge Ashmore estate from its local environmental plan so that the development proposals for the site could be prepared separately.

The lord mayor, Clover Moore, welcomed the change but local residents said it would still allow the council's plan for buildings up to nine storeys.

''We wanted the original 2006 plan which called for a maximum of five storeys, that was before the previous government stepped in with 19 storeys,'' said Mike Hatton, the president of the Friends of Erskineville residents group.

Mr Hatton said when the former Malley's industrial site was fully developed, it would almost double Erskineville's population from 6500 to 12,000 residents and the state and government needed to work together.

''Our real concern is there is no whole-of-government approach … there's absolutely no mention in the draft development control plan of a traffic plan, no mention of a revision of public transport infrastructure.''

The Goodman company which is developing most of the site said the decision was not unexpected and would give some certainty to the company as it worked up plans with the City of Sydney.

Chris Johnson, the chief executive of developer lobby group Urban Taskforce, was concerned the changes would see too little development on a site that was big enough for high rise.