Rozelle Village Pty Ltd Submission Guide: make your opinions heard by 18 June

Greens MP Jamie Parker is encouraging residents to make a submission regarding the development by Rozelle Village Pty Ltd to the Department of Planning by 18 June 2012.

Read Mr Parker's submission here

Mr Parker has also endorsed Leichhardt Council's submission. Read it here.

"Whilst I support sustainable and appropriate development on the site of the former Balmain Tigers club, I believe the current plans will have unacceptable impacts on our community," Mr Parker said. 

All submissions will be considered by the Department of Planning in undertaking its assessment of the development. This assessment will then be considered by the members of the Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) who will make the final decision.

PAC guidelines recommend that a development which attracts more than 25 submissions can prompt a public meeting where residents can address PAC members directly. This would be a great opportunity for the community so all residents are encouraged to make a submission – see the below guide for assistance in making your submission.

BACKGROUND:

In 2010, the owner of the Balmain Leagues Club site proposed a development for the site which included a structure of 5 and 11 storeys. As Mayor of Leichhardt Council Jamie Parker was on the Joint Regional Planning Panel which unanimously rejected that application because of its size, design and traffic impacts.

Under the former Labor government, the proposal was declared as a major project under Part 3A which means it will now be decided by a panel of government appointees (the PAC) rather than the local community. 

The Liberal government refused Leichhardt Council's request to bring the decision for this development back to the community.

The current owner and developer of the site, Rozelle Village Pty Ltd, has now submitted a new proposal for a much larger development.

OVERVIEW:

The new proposal more than doubles the number of apartments to a total of 304, almost triples commercial floor space and increases parking spaces to 834.

The plan includes excavation of eight basement levels and construction of a five-six storey podium and three residential towers, two at 26 storeys and one at 32 storeys. Two of these towers are linked so the developer is describing them as one tower (which is why you may see reference to a development of two towers).

Despite these increases, the Leagues Club will comprise less than 5% of the total development.

The value of our community is greatly enhanced by its village feel and bustling high street with boutique shops, cafes and restaurants. There are well-founded concerns that this development will destroy our wonderful high street by swallowing up local business, creating traffic chaos and irreversibly changing our streetscape.     

The developer's own economic impact assessment states that Balmain/Rozelle traders will suffer a loss of up to 11.2% equal to $20.4 million in turnover relative to turnover otherwise achievable at 2016. (Source: Economic Impact Assessment April 2012 p 25.)

The new plans include 13,971 square metres of retail floor space (gross floor area). Compare this to the existing total retail floor space in the Rozelle strip centre, which is currently less than 12,000 square metres. There are concerns that many of our local retailers will not survive. 

The Joint Regional Planning Panel unanimously rejected a previous application two years ago which was half the size of the current proposal. One of the main reasons for refusal was evidence showing it would create traffic gridlock. This larger development will create even more traffic.

Plans are on exhibition until 18 June 2012 and can be viewed at Leichhardt Council’s Citizen Service Centre, Balmain Library or online at the Department of Planning and Infrastructure. 

DEVELOPMENT SNAPSHOT:

The new proposal includes:

    • three residential towers: two at 26 storeys and one at 32 storeys (two of these towers are linked so the developer is describing them as one tower which is why you may see Rozelle Village Pty Ltd advertising referring to a development of two towers)

 

    • total gross floor area of 54,979 square metres

 

    • 304 dwellings

 

    • 834 parking spaces

 

    • excavation of eight basement levels

 

    • construction of a five-six storey podium

 

    • The Balmain Leagues club will comprise just 5% of the overall development


MAIN CONCERNS: 

Bulk and scale of the development is out of scale and overwhelming.

The height, bulk and scale of the development is inappropriate and not in keeping with the village feel of the surrounding suburbs. The height and scale of the building is oppressive and will overwhelm the surrounding homes, businesses and other buildings.

The development exceeds the planning controls for height, bulk, scale and density.

Privacy

The building will overlook hundreds of surrounding properties leading to a significant reduction in the usability of existing private open space. With one of the lowest amounts of public open space in Sydney, local residents prize their private open space. The pattern of development in the surrounding properties only provides for very modest private open space to the rear. These spaces will be imposed upon by the sheer scale of the development as well as a significant reduction in privacy.

Overshadowing

The shadows of these buildings will stretch all the way to Callan Park and will have unacceptable negative impacts on the residents' access to sunshine.

Evidence of traffic gridlock

Local streets are already heavily congested and Victoria Road is a very slow moving major arterial road. This development will further slow Victoria Road and further reduce the performance of the road network in surrounding streets.

The development will attract a huge number of vehicle movements with over 800 car parking spaces. Many of these drivers will be using local streets to access the site, thereby increasing traffic on already overloaded streets.

The development requires the removal of parking spaces on Darling Street and Victoria Road in order to assist traffic flows. These spaces are used for local high street businesses and their removal will impact on local retailers. It is highly unlikely shoppers will enter the shopping mall then walk outside and cross Victoria Road to shop on the high street.

Many of our local retailers may not survive.

The unique appeal of our local area is greatly due to its village feel and bustling high street with boutique shops, cafes and restaurants.

The new plans include 13,971 square metres of retail floor space (gross floor area) which will overwhelm Rozelle/Balmain retailers. Construction of a huge retail centre will encourage people to drive into the centre and then leave without frequenting the boutique retailers on Darling St.

The developer's own economic impact assessment states that Balmain/Rozelle traders will suffer a loss of up to 11.2% equal to $20.4 million in turnover relative to turnover otherwise achievable at 2016. (Source: Economic Impact Assessment April 2012 p 25.)

There are also concerns that the developer's economic impact assessment report underestimated the performance of the specialty stores in the proposed development by approximately 45% when compared to the performance average of Sydney specialty outlets. This underestimation has allowed the developer to downplay the impacts on Balmain and Rozelle traders.   

As such the actual projected loss for Balmain and Rozelle traders is likely to be significantly higher than what has been stated. The Balmain/Rozelle Chamber of Commerce is strongly opposed to the development.

No need for the residential

There is no imperative for a residential development of this scale. All Councils have been set targets for the development of new housing. These targets have been set by the Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036.  Leichhardt Council is exceeding its targets for new dwellings by close to 25% and will meet the target comfortably. This is also the case for nearby growth area Councils like Canada Bay Council.

There is no compelling reason from a housing perspective to support such an out of scale development with such significant impacts to meet new housing targets for Sydney.

Ad hoc development and developer uncertainty

Leichhardt Council has recently concluded a development process on the former Carrier air-conditioning site in Terry Street Rozelle. The developer and Council have agreed to the residential development of the site at a floor space ration of 1.5:1. This had widespread support in the community.

This process has now entered the NSW gateway process. This development was undertaken with strong consultation with the community and supported by Council providing close to 200 apartments. There is no incentive for developers to enter into goodwill discussions with Council and communities if other developers are allowed to make an application that is so clearly and substantially outside the development controls. 

Approval for this development would create a great deal of uncertainty for communities, councils and developers by subverting an orderly process for determining appropriate controls. Local businesses and residents as well as developers like ANKA on the Terry Street site are required to comply with the planning regulations. Allowing this development to breach all the regulations and be approved would seriously undermine confidence in the planning system and have significant impacts on the local community.

The community must have its say

The Liberal government refused Leichhardt Council's request to bring the decision for this development back to the community. The State Government's Planning and Assessment Commission will determine this application, leaving this important development in the hands of unaccountable government appointees rather than the local community. 

LODGING YOUR SUBMISSION
Online: http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=4499
By email:
plan_comment@planning.nsw.gov.au
By post: Major Projects Assessment, Department of Planning and Infrastructure, GPO Box 39, SYDNEY NSW 2001.


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