We have had a significant win in our collective efforts to stop the overdevelopment of the Bidura site in Glebe.
The Land and Environment Court has refused the development application that would have had an enormous impact on our local community, in particular the residents of Ferry Rd, the heritage significance of Bidura House and the overall amenity in Glebe.
The result demonstrates yet again that we can defeat the worst excesses of the development industry with concerted community action.
The Inner West Courier reported in January last year my criticism of the sale of the site and the need to defend the heritage values of our community.
You can read the story here
There was also an incredible show of support at the public meeting which was held in November last year:
Standing Room Only at Bidura Development Public Meeting
Hundreds of objections and petition signatures helped ensure the resolve of the City of Sydney to oppose the application.
The City of Sydney legal staff mounted a strong case to support the refusal in the Court. While the application was refused, the court did not support retaining the children's court building so the developer will be able to submit another application that demolishes the building which is very disappointing.
The refusal was based on three elements:
The lack of adequate building separation to 2A Forsyth Street, the solar and private open space impact on the Ferry Rd residents and the impact on the heritage significance of Bidura House.
The full judgement is available here
I'll be following up with the City of Sydney to analyse the judgement in detail and determine our best course of action.
It's clear that the developer is concerned about the development potential of the site and it has been reported that they proposed to sell it to the City of Sydney for their purchase price of $33 million. The City refused to purchase it citing lack of funds and a useful community purpose for the site.
It's a disgrace that this site was sold by the government in the first place and I will be calling on the Minister to buy back the site and ensure it is used to benefit the public not just add to the bottom line of a developer.