Infrastructure concerns follow Parramatta Road $31 billion redevelopment plan

The Opposition and community groups have questioned whether the state government's $31 billion plan to redevelop Parramatta Road will overwhelm local infrastructure.

The final strategy for the Parramatta Road redevelopment, released on Wednesday, plans for 27,000 new dwellings lining the 20-kilometre corridor around the freeway from Homebush to Haberfield,or a 55,000-person population increase over 30 years

"[That's] at least 20,000 new students," said Ian Baker, the acting head of the Catholic Education Commission, which represents nearly 600 schools. "That's 800 additional classrooms required in a region where schools are already at or over capacity – and land to expand or build new schools is scarce and costly."

But Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the government had already significantly scaled down its plan for the redevelopment, from a previous 40,000 homes, in response to feedback from the community and councils about the capacity of local infrastructure.

he strategy commits to $200 million in infrastructure projects to be rolled out immediately in a process jointly overseen by councils.

A broader schedule of infrastructure projects has been costed but not funded, including $150 million for a previously floated Burwood to CBD rapid bus service, 66 hectares of green space, $311 million in contributions to educational facilities, additional hospital funding and 33 kilometres of upgraded pedestrian and cycling links.

The state government says those projects are expected to be met by developer contributions, legally required to build residential projects.

"This will ensure that infrastructure provision and new development occur together," a spokesman for the state government developer UrbanGrowth said.

On Wednesday, the development lobby queried the decision to downsize a previous plan for residential development, given a recent projected increase in the city's population forecasts, now predicting Sydney needed an additional 726,000 homes by 2036.

"It's a slightly strange twist given that the housing targets have gone up about 10 per cent," said Chris Johnson, the CEO of the Urban Taskforce, a group representing property developers.

Zoning documents released on Wednesday show opportunity remains for projects as high as 80 metres, or 25 storeys, in the "Kings Bay" precinct, between Burwood and Five Dock.

"This plan is nothing more than a green light for a developer invasion of suburbs adjoining Parramatta Road," said Greens MP Jamie Parker.

While developers said the inclusion of a 5 per cent minimum inclusion of affordable housing in the redevelopment would drive up the cost of homes, Labor said the targets were much too low.

But the NSW Federation of Housing Associations welcomed the inclusion, saying it was the first major urban renewal outside a small part of the city of Sydney to include such a target.

"This is a very, very positive step forward," said CEO Wendy Hayhurst.

About 10 per cent of Sydney's population currently lives along the corridor.

A spokesman for UrbanGrowth said planned new developments followed accessible public transport and planners were encouraging people to live and work locally.

Showing 4 reactions

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  • Leslie Johnston
    commented 2016-11-15 12:22:16 +1100
    Increasing residential developments immediately adjacent to Parramatta Road will cause detrimental health effects on those breathing polluted air from motor vehicles. Who will pay for these health effects? The NSW Government has no monitoring of air quality adjacent to major roads. The lack of data is no excuse for claiming to be unaware of the health effects. Life expectancy data shows that ultra fine particles and nitrogen dioxide causes real health issues. From a whole of Government perspective, separating major roads from residential areas, schools represents good decision-making.
  • Narelle Ryan
    commented 2016-11-15 10:22:46 +1100
    This will destroy the character of the inner-city in which many of us have chosen to live. Where is the plan to ensure that employment is localised? Other than retail shops, what provision or incentives are being made by Urban Growth for companies that require a highly educated workforce? Do the development Plans include the provision of land for green space, educational facilities, additional hospital buildings, libraries, child care and pedestrian and cycling links? All of the former are essential if there is to be adequate service provision.
  • Kerin O'Halloran
    commented 2016-11-13 16:15:05 +1100
    The state government has not consider the health and recovery needs of people living with mental illness, much of a priority. If it proceeds with its ’$31 billion plan to redevelop Parramatta Road ’ it will overwhelm a lot more than infrastructure … Mental Health care will necessarily become the State priority.
  • Leslie Johnston
    commented 2016-11-12 08:09:37 +1100
    The people living in the new 27,000 residences are subjecting themselves to known health effects and reduced life expectancy due to air pollution. What contribution has the NSW health Minister made to this decision?
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