Feb 23rd, High Density Plan Rejected

posted 27 Feb 2012, 04:29 by Friends of Erskineville   [ updated 8 Mar 2012, 13:48 ]


Erskineville Town Hall was filled to capacity and overflowing last night – February 22, 2012 – as over 200 residents came together at a meeting convened by the Friends of Erskineville (FOE) Residents’ Association to discuss the City of Sydney Draft Control Plan for the Ashmore Estate in Erskineville. Those that could not gain access to the Town Hall or were at home sent their support via electronic communication.


At the start of the meeting it was made clear that FOE is not against development and progress, but is against development that has not been properly thought through; ignores the situation on the ground with problems such as public transport infrastructure; fails to co-ordinate with other statutory authorities over which the city has no control such as the RTA and Sydney Water; has the ability to create precincts which can rapidly become the slums of tomorrow; and in general impinges on the well-being and rights of residents.

Presentations were made by the Council of the City of Sydney and by FOE

These presentations can be viewed here

In particular the meeting noted the following:


  • Member for Heffron Kristina Keneally MP is raising the issue in Parliament on the evening of 22 February
  • Member for Marrickville Carmel Tebbutt MP is unable to attend as Parliament is sitting till 10 pm
  • Lord Mayor Clover Moore was unable to attend as Parliament was sitting till 10 pm
  • Liberal Councilor Shayne Mallard was not able to attend due to a prior engagement
  • Independent Councilor Marcelle Hoff was unable to attend due to illness
  • Independent Councilor John McInerny was unable to attend
  • Independent Councilors Robert Kok, Phillip Black and Di Tornai did not respond to the invitation to attend – meaning that not one councilor from the controlling Independent block on the City Council was in attendance to hear resident views.
  • Greens Councilor Irene Doutney was in attendance on behalf of Councillor Chris Harris and herself
  • Labor Councilor Meredith Burgmann was in attendance
  • It was noted that Councilors Doutney and Burgmann were strong supporters of resident views
  • Residents rejected the proposed 9 story Draft Control Plan (DCP) in favour of the original 2006 gazetted DCP which limited building heights to 5 storeys
  • Residents were extremely concerned that council was proceeding in isolation when there was a requirement for a coordinated approach working with other agencies not under council control such as the RTA and Sydney Water. Development cannot proceed in an ad hoc isolated manner and must be coordinated so that all aspects of the proposal are taken into account
  • There is a very real concern that proceeding in isolation means that the present situation of inadequate and overcrowded public transport infrastructure is not being addressed. State rail figures already indicate a 40% overload of trains at Erskineville station in the morning peak hour based on current population, and with no provision for increased population as envisaged under the DCP. This issue must be resolved and a plan for the future taking in development of the Ashmore Estate implemented PRIOR to any building commencing
  • Traffic flow and parking are major issues. The meeting unanimously rejected the present council attitude of limited parking and development without off street parking mandated. Council is trying to impose its will on residents in relation to these matters and ignoring the needs of residents and this may well become a major council election issue. When asked “when will the current traffic study for the Erskineville area that Sydney Council is commissioning be completed” council officers at the meeting advised “approximately 12 months”. The meeting concurred unanimously that to consider a DCP change to 9 storeys maximum height prior to the completion of this report was both ignoring local resident concerns and also gave the impression that consultation by Council was akin to window dressing.
  • The meeting noted the need for Sydney Water to install new piping in the Munni Street catchment to meet a one in twenty year flooding event. Residents are of the view that such work must be carried out PRIOR to any development commencing
  • Residents noted that the DCP made no provision for pre-school facilities or the possible need for an additional school given that Erskineville Public School appears to be near capacity. Residents already have to drive pre-school children as far as Coogee in order to have their child in a facility during the day. This issue must be addressed
  • The meeting noted that the State Government has final control over the Ashmore Development and has basically brought 3A planning controls into being in spite of an election pledge to remove them and hand control back to councils. It was also noted that the State Government has not as yet accepted the proposed DCP and hence nothing under discussion had any certainty as it appeared residents were caught in the middle of disagreement between the Council and the State Government over who should exercise control over projects such as Ashmore
  • Further concern was raised that the State Government may well agree with developers wanting 19 storey apartment blocks and this is a totally unacceptable proposal to the entire resident population of both Erskineville and Alexandria
  • Residents are critical of council allowing Leighton to advertise a DA for part of the Ashmore site when in fact the DCP has not as yet been finalized. This action has the hallmark of an attempt to force the present situation between Council and the State Government and the Council should not have been party to such an attempt, and no DA should be advertised or processed until such time as the DCP has been approved and agreed, and the necessary water, urban design and traffic studies have been carried out. It was noted that the present urban design being used as a basis for this DCP is based on the outdated traffic data, when a full detailed micro simulation of traffic is required. Council is reminded of their 2005 position where it stated © ‘Uncoordinated Development: 20. With increased developer interest there has been some mixed use/residential developments constructed on an incremental ad-hoc basis both within and nearby to the site. Given the substantial infrastructure issues arising from the site and its surrounds, integrated solutions to achieve sustainable high quality development are required. This uncoordinated development has minimal chance of achieving high quality urban outcomes and solutions to constraints affecting the wider Estate, such as storm water and traffic.”
  • Residents unanimously resent being placed in a situation where they are caught in the middle of disagreement between Council and State Government and forced to respond to proposals that have yet to be accepted and confirmed, and therefore request the matter of planning control be sorted out with the utmost speed
  • Residents unanimously passed the 7 Resolutions attached to this Press Release and authorized the President of FOE to communicate the Resolutions and resident concerns to Premier O’Farrell, Minister Hazzard, Lord Mayor Moore and all Councilors.