Submissions by local residents

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David Aitken ~ 13 Feb 2012

posted 13 Feb 2012, 03:52 by Friends of Erskineville

As a local resident and a member of the Friends of Erskineville, I have serious concerns with the new Draft Amendment which seeks to replace the current controls for the precinct with a document that is seriously flawed in that it proposes to raise the density of the site from 1:1 (the western sector) and 1.25:1 to 1.75:1 (in the eastern or Goodman sector), a 75% increase to the western half of the site and a 40% increase to the eastern half of the site without any serious regard to the traffic and transport needs or urban design quality and servicing of the new residential development. I and other residents in the area are concerned that Council’s proposal to amend the current Development Control plan (DCP) and increase the residential density of this site by increasing FSR and building heights is being driven by developer pressure on the Department of Planning, rather than on a thorough understanding of the form and servicing of a livable and sustainable city of villages


The scale of the development


The amended DCP proposes to increase the height of the buildings from a maximum of five storeys to nine storeys, based upon the supposition that the 8 and 9 storey towers will be only marginally visible outside of the precinct. However, we would question this philosophy of encouraging development above 4 or (maximum) 5 stories, based upon sustainable design and livability.  It is argued by many socially aware urban designers such as Christopher Alexander et al in A Pattern Language, that high buildings have no genuine advantages, except in speculative gains for banks and developers. They are not cheaper, they do not help to create open space and they destroy the townscape, the social life and make life difficult for children. In addition, buildings above 4 or 5 levels are expensive and energy intensive to maintain, impact upon the quality of nearby open spaces and alienate adults and children from the ground where social intercourse is likely to occur.


It is quite clear that Council’s planning officers arrived at appropriate density provisions of FSR of 1.25:1 and maximum 4/5 stories through proper process and that the currently proposed increase in the FSR and height of the buildings is being driven by external opportunistic forces and not by the interests of future sustainable living.  , We call upon the City to engage the services of the highly respected Urban Designer, Jahn Gehl, to help prepare a thoroughly researched and socially sensitive design for the new village within the city. Such a design could reconsider the scale of the proposal and the availability of existing infrastructure including alternative transport, schools, hospitals, shops deliveries and waste services that would be required to support the new residential development. In addition, such a design could identify the need for new transport means, such as light rail which once serviced and linked this specific development site into both tram and rail networks. Moreover, such an urban design and transport study would inform the scheduling of the new developments to follow the provision of essential services and infrastructure.


The need for a Traffic and Transport Study


The entire Ashmore precinct, which covers 17 hectares, contains large industrial buildings surrounded by late Victorian and Federation terrace houses. Access to the specific site is severely limited, both now and in the future by the Huntley Green and Coulson Street residential developments to the south, the rail line to the west and tiny roads and laneways which access Mitchell Road and Coulson Street to the south and east.


As the local community has been informed by Council’s planning staff that the new development model, recently proposed by Council’s Urban Design Team, with an FSR of 1.75:1 or greater, allows for 3200 new apartments for an estimated population of 6200 residents, with onsite parking arrangements for 1,950 vehicles, the need for a comprehensive Traffic and Transport study to support the massive increase in the Alexandria and Erskineville population would be mandatory in any Environmental Assessment.  


It is noted that at densities of 1.75:1 or greater, Traffic Planners anticipate a higher level of vehicle ownership and a higher level of car dependency, which is likely to increase the numbers of vehicle movements added to the network.


We, therefore, call upon Council to undertake and complete a comprehensive traffic and transport modeling study to assess how a total of 6,200 new residents and their support services will move into and out of the site and the impacts this new development will have upon the movement, servicing and circulation patterns of the existing nearby community and surrounding suburbs. Such a study would require a full network analysis to examine the ability of the existing road, bus, rail, pedestrian and cycle networks to cope with the additional volumes of people and traffic and would use micro simulation modeling.  Its scope should take in the peak periods occurring on Saturdays (all day) and Thursday evenings (?)


In addition, we question Council’s submitted planning evidence that the nearby location of the rail line will cope with the additional needs of the expanded population. As Sydney Rail has already reached full capacity in peak travel times, we would request that the Traffic and Transport Study include a Mode Share analysis and take into account the low level frequency of the adjacent rail stations at both Erskineville and St Peters.




In conclusion, we would request that Council does not consider any changes to the Ashmore DCP until it is informed by:


1.                  A full Traffic and Transport study which has been undertaken to assess the ability of the area to absorb the circulation requirements of this massive increase in population.


2.                  Council undertakes an urban design study for the site and its surrounds by seeking the services of the city’s Urban Design consultant, Jahn Gehl, in order to promote an alternative, sustainable and socially responsible design for the new Ashmore residential village, destined to become one of “Sustainable Sydney 2030” centres in its City of villages initiative;


3.                  Regarding the loss of an important employment generating centre, an analysis of the social, economic and environmental impacts on the capacity of the existing physical and social community infrastructure and jobs market is undertaken to support the very large number of additional residents.


Mark Boyd ~ 11th Feb 2012

posted 12 Feb 2012, 14:03 by Friends of Erskineville   [ updated 13 Feb 2012, 03:54 ]


I wish to object to the Ashmore development plan based on the following issues:

1. The overall scale and density of the buildings proposed for the site - over 40 blocks of apartments and town houses proposed varying in height from 2 to 9 levels. The estimate is that over the course of the period of development of the industrial estate around 6000 more people will become residents of Erskineville, effectively a doubling of the current population of the suburb. The proposed development is completely out of keeping with the density, nature and character of the rest of the suburb.


2. Public transport - despite this enormous projected increase in population there appears to be little to no recognition on behalf of the State Government or the developers of the major strain that such an influx of people would place on the transport infrastructure of the suburb.  Although served by the Bankstown-City train line, the demand for this service is now at the point that at morning rush hour many commuters find it difficult to find room on the train, often having to resort to waiting for the next service. The bus service to the city up Mitchell Road is also full at peak travel times. It is imperative that council recognizes this and takes it into careful consideration in the design of the development.


3. The development will inevitably lead to an increase in traffic in an already congested area. Even those who use public transport for weekday commuting will often own a car for use on weekends or after-hours. While the provision of only limited car parking in the development may reflect the aspiration of the council and state government to discourage the use of private motorized vehicles in general, it seems likely that increased traffic will affect the amenity of the area.


4. Closely linked to point 3 is that the off-street parking provision appears manifestly inadequate - approximately 1950 parking spaces for approximately 3200 apartments. Parking opportunities for those without their own off-street parking is at a premium in Erskineville. If the current proposal goes ahead as proposed this will inevitably become significantly worse.

5. The height of the proposed buildings: the 9 storey heights are well out of keeping with the rest of Erskineville and will create shadows on existing resident premises and proposed new residences, particularly in the late afternoon. Oddly it seems that in 2006 after an extensive consultative process City of Sydney concluded that building heights of up to 5 storeys could be supported. However the current proposal has moved to a limit of 9 storeys. One assumes that pressure from various stakeholders was brought to bear on City of Sydney to encourage the accommodation of a denser population in the re-draft. Nevertheless, this has occurred in the absence of any apparent consultation with the community, nor it would appear with any new assessments of the impact or feasibility of this substantial change.


6. Provision for open public space in the new proposal is inadequate - less than 5% of the total site area. In 1997 the plan for the open space component aspect of the development was more than 5 times what is now on the table. This is simply greedy and inadequate.


In conclusion, the great paradox of the Ashmore redevelopment proposal is that it will devalue the great amenity of Erskineville as a place to live, which is the currency on which the council and the developers will seek their return on investment.


I respectfully ask you and the City of Sydney to take stock of what is being proposed at Ashmore and consider amending the plan to one that adds to rather than detracts from the character of Erskineville.


Yours Sincerely,




Amalina ~ 26 Jan 2012

posted 2 Feb 2012, 19:26 by Friends of Erskineville

My children went to Erskineville Primary and Lady Gowrie Childcare Centre, and I have loved and lived in Erskineville since 1983. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to comment on the proposed redevelopment at Ashmore Estate. People in my street were nervous when Sydney Council took over from South Sydney Council, our big fear was that councillors with a more remote connection to Erskineville would increase development in the area. We were assured that Sydney Council has a commitment to maintaining a city of villages, and that Erskineville would not suffer from being governed by Sydney City Council. In 2006 you reassured us with a low-rise plan for Erskineville.

What has happened?

By approving developments of high density apartments of up to 9 and in some cases 19 stories high, the Council is irreparably changing the nature of Erskineville, by imposing shadows on nearby residents, leaving less than 5% public open space, it could  create a mini Hong Kong in Erko. We are already congested - and such extreme over-development would turn Erskineville into Gotham City.

I understand that state planning regulations have been changed. We vote for councillors to act as a buffer to big government -  we have local government to ensure local needs are met. We hope that you, as our Lord Mayor, will think about the negative impact on residents of doubling the population here. The increased human pressure here will add to the pressures of getting on a train to work in the morning (already a sardine-squeeze), to parking pressures (they are not solved by eliminating parking from planning), to more pollution from cars and to more congestion on our narrow roads.

Please keep Erskineville free of from multi-storey developments. Please don't make a Gold Coast in Erko - we don't have a beach to retreat to.

Vass ~ Feb 1, 2012

posted 31 Jan 2012, 17:49 by Friends of Erskineville   [ updated 31 Jan 2012, 18:27 ]

Please do not do to Erskineville what you have done to Waterloo! I am disgusted with the number of developments there. Waterloo has the 'slums of tomorrow' writen all over it. It is not only an eye sore but lacks proper planning, infrastructure and is way overcrowded. Trying to drive through to the other side of Southern Cross Drive is now impossible during peak hours. The overshadowing and wind tunnel effect is not at all pleasant. I live adjacent to the Ashmore Precinct, and still enjoy being able to listen to the birds calling first thing in the morning. I still enjoy looking at the sky and getting sunshine. I still enjoy driving, riding and walking home without the traffic congestion. I will not enjoy increased traffic, increased noise and increased pollutants. I will not enjoy more concrete poured and turned into 9-level appartment blocks, i will not enjoy my residence being overshadowed and getting less sunshine. I will not enjoy the wind tunnel effect caused by adjacent buildings. Instead of trying to squeeze as many people as you can in a limited space, take some time to think about the impact not only to the environment, but also to the current and future residents. It should not be about how much of a short term financial gain you will have now. Please take some time to think about the long term impact. Spend a day in Waterloo and tell me what you like about it? Then spend the day in Erskineville and see the difference. Erskineville is one of the most beautiful suburbs in the Inner West. Please respect the community and do not destroy it like you have destroyed Waterloo. WE live there so listen to US.

Sam - Jan 31, 2012

posted 30 Jan 2012, 15:11 by Friends of Erskineville   [ updated 30 Jan 2012, 15:12 ]

I am writing to express my concern regarding the revised planning controls for 57 Ashmore Street and 165-175 Mitchell Road.

Whilst I do not object to redevelopment of the Ashmore Estate and understand the need for urban renewal, I find the planning controls directed by the Department of Planning as completely inappropriate and lacking any vision for the city.

There are numerous negative impacts a development allowed by these controls would have and no doubt these have been pointed out by countless other concerned residents.  However, I would like to focus on the infrastructure.  

Both the road and rail networks are already unable to sustain the current population.  Mitchell Road and King St have bumper to bumper traffic for both the morning and evening commute and Erskineville Road/Swanson St/Copeland St has become subject to heavy traffic as an unintended thoroughfare.  While trains are already operating at capacity and sometimes even being able to stand on a train is out of the question.  Obviously adding five thousand new residents without further investment in infrastructure will only exacerbate the problems.

We love Sydney.  We love our City of Villages.  Don’t start destroying them.

Please listen to the residents.

Alan - Jan 28, 2012

posted 29 Jan 2012, 14:00 by Friends of Erskineville

Please do not allow buildings of more than six storeys because of over shadowing. If there are going to be a big population increase as a result of the building can we have more trains at Erskineville station, and the Eastern Suburbs trains stop there. The 308 bus service is inadequate very few running during the day and can we have a liquid led display of bus arrival times at the main stops like they do in Europe, ie Route No. and updated ETA for that route. This would take all the wondering about catching the bus, as they rarely run to timetable. I say scrap the Timetable and just display the frequency on the Liquid Led ie every 10-15min, every 20 mins, 30mins etc.
Please limit the buildings to 6 floors because of over shadowing and because of the extra population please increase the trains at Erskinville and St.Peters and allow the Eastern Suburbs line to stop. Bus service 308 could be improved and liquid led display at main stops as in Europe would be a big help ie arrival times expected, are there any plans for this to happen?

Tim - Jan 29, 2012

posted 29 Jan 2012, 13:55 by Friends of Erskineville   [ updated 29 Jan 2012, 13:55 ]

I wish to object to the Ashmore redevelopment. It is an extreme overdevelopment and completely out of character with the surrounding Erskineville residential precinct. This development if allowed to proceed will irreversibly damage amenity to all local residents. 

Specifically my objections to the current Ashmore Precinct Development Plan are;

1. The Height of buildings is out of scale with the surrounding area. The density of the buildings proposed for the site varying in height between 2 and 9 levels is extreme. Notwithstanding the push to have 19 storey (60m) towers erected on the site. The height of proposed buildings will create overshadowing of existing resident premises and also on proposed new residences. On reading the contamination report on the site I cannot see for a moment why the developer should justify needing greater density in order to cover the costs with decontaminating the site. They need to take responsibility and if it's not commercially viable to develop the site without turning it into a hi-res ghetto then the reality is, then it's not commercially viable full stop. This is nothing but a cynical ploy to put more pressure to overdevelop the site. 

2. The influx of the proposed 6000 new residents will create traffic chaos. The area is beset with narrow streets and we experience constant traffic congestion. There is no potential to widen roads and no foreseeable plan to alleviate more cars in a very small precinct. I have experienced first hand how the increased density of apartments around South Dowling Street has added considerable time to the commute to the Eastern Suburbs. This will be a poor outcome for all.

3. A parking nightmare awaits. We experience serious parking problems now and are working to implement tighter zoning - not that this will remedy much.The suggestion that providing around 1950 parking spaces for 3200 apartments is acceptable is a gross oversight. This demonstrates a greedy developer is completely unconcerned about displacing existing residents parking. There should be one space for each apartment/town house.
4. There is no planning for increased public transport - buses and trains are already heavily crowded in peak hour (try Erskineville station at 8am any weekday - breath in, you wouldn't want to be elderly or pregnant etc).
The rail service is at capacity on this line - and I have no doubt that an increase of approximately 6200 additional residents will create further delays and problems. Oh and where's the disabled access for the Erskineville station? If State Rail can't fix the basics after 10 years of battling and the best it can provide is a service sparser than the year 2000 timetable then as a city we should have no belief that this will be addressed by government.

5. This will be a nail in the coffin for the Council's 'City of Villages' vision. The reality is the convivial community at Erskineville will be completely overwhelmed by hi-res development fostered by a short term grab for cash.
The proposed increases in story heights and floor space ratio will result in unsustainable increases in traffic, parking and public transport congestion. A population increase from 6,000 to 12,000+ is not acceptable, desirable or sustainable! 

The low rise, low density urban design plan of 2006 is an appropriate approach.

Andrew - 27 Jan 2012

posted 27 Jan 2012, 18:52 by Friends of Erskineville   [ updated 29 Jan 2012, 13:53 ]

Angela - 24 Jan 2012

posted 27 Jan 2012, 18:46 by Friends of Erskineville

Dear Abby and John

I wish to register my strong opposition to the proposal to redevelop the Ashmore estate.

All of Erskineville's charm and popularity amongst inner west residents is a result of the village feel and small community atmosphere. This proposed redevelopment will complete destroy what our residents have worked so hard to build.

In particular, the drain on existing services, local traffic chaos, significantly more congestion on Mitchell Rd, completely insufficient parking, and even more congestion on our already ridiculously-overcrowded trains, will all negatively impact erskineville and its residents.  And for what gain?? Just making property developers and real estate agents richer......

I urge council to reconsider, and then strongly oppose, this proposal.

Please support your residents and property owners!

I look forward to your response.

Andrew - Jan 25, 2012

posted 27 Jan 2012, 18:41 by Friends of Erskineville   [ updated 27 Jan 2012, 18:44 ]

Dear Sydney of City Council, I am resident of Erskineville, one of the last City of Sydney preceincts that manages to retain and sustain a unique village atmosphere that is threatened by over development of the Ashmore precenct. These neighbourhoods WILL NOT sustain more traffic generated by oversized development such as what is proposed. I wish to object to the Ashmore revelopment based on the following points:
1. The overall density of the buildings proposed for the site - over 40 blocks of apartments and town houses proposed varying in height between 2 and 9 levels
2. Insufficient planning of traffic flows within and around the proposed site - major increase in traffic in an already congested area
3. Gross underestimation of off street parking - only approximately 1950 parking spaces for approximately 3200 apartments. There should be one space for each apartment/town house
4. No planning for increased public transport - buses and trains already congested in peak hour without an increase of approximately 6200 additional residents. Proposal does not incorporate a public transport plan
5. Height of proposed buildings will create shadows on existing resident premises and also on proposed new residences - specially after 3 pm daily
Yours sincerely - Andrew, A Desperately concerned Erskineville resident

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