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Ashmore Estate update

On March 12, Council passed the draft Local Environment Plan (LEP) but voted to defer the Goodman site at 57 Ashmore Street and 165-175 Mitchell Road from it, on the grounds that the controls for the area warrant further consideration and/or public consultation. This means the City’s draft LEP that will now proceed to the State Government for approval excludes the Goodman site in the Ashmore precinct reports Kate Texilake in the April 2012 edition of The South Sydney Herald

The precinct is also the subject of a draft amendment to the Development Control Plan (DCP), which was on exhibition until February 29 this year. The amendments allow for 1.75:1 floor space ratio, building heights up to nine storeys and 1950 car parking spaces.

In 2010, the former State Government directed Council to increase height limits at the site from nine to 19 storeys and allowable residential floor space by nearly 60 per cent. On March 14, 2012, the current government’s Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Brad Hazzard, reversed this direction, noting that a 19-storey height limit would be “completely out of character with the nearby area”. Mr Hazzard also indicated his support for Council’s resolution to defer the Goodman site in the Ashmore Estate from the LEP.

The planning sub-committee’s report to Council on the draft LEP recommends preparing and exhibiting environmental controls for Ashmore that are consistent with those development controls that are ultimately adopted for the site, following consideration of submissions on the draft DPC amendment. The sub-committee’s report on the draft DPC exhibition and Council’s response are eagerly awaited by residents who have been actively campaigning around proposed development at the site.

Local community group Friends of Erskineville (FOE) made a submission on the draft DCP that raised the overarching concern that the proposed development does not foster livable, sustainable community. It also specified a set of problems that were echoed across many other submissions received from residents.

While scaled down significantly from the previous State Government’s concept, the draft DCP amendment raises the 2006 DCP site density by 75 per cent on the western side of the Estate and 40 per cent on the eastern side. FOE are concerned this increase has been proposed without serious regard for the transport, urban design and servicing needs of such a development.

The amendment also increases the building height to a maximum of nine storeys, instead of the five stipulated in the 2006 DCP. There is widespread concern that this scale of development stands to reduce amenity and social wellbeing of the community, impacting on children in particular. FOE argues that buildings of this height also destroy the townscape and are expensive and energy intensive to maintain.

Conscious of an existing shortfall in public transport services and of traffic congestion, FOE consider that a full transport network analysis investigating impacts on traffic, parking and public and alternative transport is required. They also argue that major water pipe upgrades are needed and should be made prior to commencement of work. FOE are calling for a thoroughly researched and socially sensitive design for the new village that considers what infrastructure is already in place and what would be required to support new residents.

Local residents also used the submission process to convey their dissatisfaction with City’s decision to accept a development application from the developers when the DPC governing the site has not yet been finalised and while uncertainty remains around whether the Department Planning & Infrastructure or the City will be responsible for the development.

FOE has the support of local member for Heffron, Kristina Keneally, who has called for the O’Farrell government to listen to local residents’ concerns and to come good on its election promise to hand over planning control to the City. Greens member Councillor Chris Harris welcomed Ms Keneally’s expression of support for local residents’ concerns, but described it as late and hypocritical when it was during her own premiership that then Planning Minister, Tony Kelly, instructed the City to increase the building heights and floor space ratio.

Details of the City Plan are available at: . More info on FOE and the community response to the Ashmore development can be found at

Source: The South Sydney Herald April 2012 –