Media releases and news

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Call to protect Dulwich Hill after former Premier’s comments

 

A residents’ action group today called on the NSW Government to preserve the suburb of Dulwich Hill, after former Premier and current Greater Sydney Commissioner Morris Iemma spoke in favour of protecting a neighbouring suburb from overdevelopment.

 

Mr Iemma, who is the Commissioner for the South Sydney district, was quoted this week saying that the suburb of Hurlstone Park should not be subject to “intense development”. [1]

 

Dulwich Hill and Hurlstone Park are among 11 station precincts on the Sydenham to Bankstown corridor where some 36,000 homes are proposed in an urban renewal plan released by the NSW Government in October last year. This will mainly be achieved through the redevelopment of historic low-density streets into high-rise canyons.

 

“It is pleasing that at last someone at the State level has recognised the major impacts of the NSW Government’s plans on low-density streetscapes,” a spokesperson for the Save Dully Action Group said.

 

“However, if Hurlstone Park is to be protected, there is no reason why this shouldn’t apply to neighbouring Dulwich Hill which has stunning Federation-era streetscapes now under threat of being bulldozed for four-to-eight storey development.”

 

Dulwich Hill is in the Central district, not South Sydney, and therefore overseen by a different Commissioner – Maria Atkinson.

 

The structure plan for the Sydenham to Bankstown corridor is being produced by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, not the Greater Sydney Commission.

 

Nevertheless, the views of Commissioners are influential given they will ultimately oversee rezoning and other major development decisions in the area and will also draw up district plans this year.

 

Meanwhile, a consultation report released by the Department in May 2016 has revealed the level of anger among Dulwich Hill residents about the plans.

 

Some 561 submissions were lodged with the NSW Government about the Dulwich Hill precinct, of which just two per cent were in favour of the plans. This was the strongest response from any precinct along the corridor during the public exhibition period which ended in February 2016.

 

A quarter of all submissions from Dulwich Hill identified excessive height and density impacts as key issues, while other significant issues raised included the lack of planning for affordable housing, infrastructure, the environment and open space. A poor community consultation process was also a common theme raised in submissions.

 

"The message from Dulwich Hill is clear: these plans will destroy the essential fabric of our heritage suburb by rezoning our character-filled low-density streets for high-rise monoliths," the spokesperson said.

 

“We remain hopeful that the Department will come to its senses and present alternative plans which dramatically reduce the impact on our suburb.”

 

The Save Dully group collected hundreds of submissions collected in street stalls. These submissions included statements such as:

  • “High-rise development will irrevocably damage the distinct character of Dulwich Hill.”

  • “I have been a resident for the past 15 years of Dulwich Hill and have huge concerns at the amount of redevelopment planned. It will put a massive strain on our transport system as already the 428 bus is to full capacity by the time it reaches us. What will happen to the local heritage and aesthetics of Dulwich Hill we don’t want to live in concrete slabs.”

  • “I have lived in the Dulwich Hill area for 30 years and Loftus St for eight years and do not want to see my beautiful house be demolished for a seven-storey building.”

  •  “I have lived in Hercules St for over 45 years and I do not want to leave. The proposal is for buildings that are excessively high and will impact on my quality of life. I don’t know where I will go if I have to leave. I have a garden which I love and I don’t want to move into an apartment.”

  • “We are not opposed to density but the size and density is unacceptable to Dulwich Hill and Hurlstone Park”.

The consultation report is available at http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Plans-for-Your-Area/Priority-Growth-Areas-and-Precincts/Sydenham-to-Bankstown-Urban-Renewal-Corridor/~/media/259A963506D842BEBFBE96ACF6172EE8.ashx

Following the strong feedback from the community, the Department has now committed to re-drafting and re-exhibiting its plans.

It has confirmed on its website that “an amended draft strategy, incorporating feedback from the community, councils and other government agencies is expected to be released for public exhibition in late 2016, with a recommendation to the Minister likely to occur in 2017.” [2]

 

[1]http://tinyurl.com/hjb59tp

[2] See www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Plans-for-Your-Area/Priority-Growth-Areas-and-Precincts/Sydenham-to-Bankstown-Urban-Renewal-Corridor

Save Dully group calls for removal of community consultation firm

9 May 2016

Renters and owners of affordable apartments could be forced out of the suburb when their homes are redeveloped and streetscapes of character-filled, century-old homes would be replaced by towers up to eight storeys high under the brutal impacts of the Sydenham to Bankstown urban renewal plans.

 

The Save Dully Action Group today released its Dulwich Hill Suburb Impact Report, which gives a comprehensive suburb-wide and street-by-street analysis of the impacts of the NSW Government’s draft plans.

 

The report was launched by Marrickville mayor Sam Iskandar at a BBQ organised by the Save Dully group at Jack Shanahan Reserve, Dulwich Hill, on Sunday, February 21.

 

Among some of the impacts include:

 

  • The removal of existing affordable housing in areas identified for significant redevelopment – with affordable units currently renting for as little as $330 (which is below the council area median) potentially being replaced by new units with rents of up to $490 a week;

  • The destruction of significant existing low-density streetscapes, including some 400 existing houses, which are illustrated through a series of artist’s impressions;

  • The potential that existing schools, open space, waste water and child-care facilities will not be able to cope with the demands of an extra 2,000 homes because of a lack of planning for new infrastructure

  • Poorly-considered and damaging interfaces between new development and remaining low-density areas, including buildings up to eight storeys on the rezoned western side of Constitution Rd which will overlook remaining single-storey homes on the eastern side;

  • A lack of new employment in the area to accompany the growing housing population, with just 284 additional jobs proposed for more than 2,000 dwellings;

  • The destruction of large swathes of potential habitat of the suburb’s endangered bandicoot colony, which is known to forage in and around the light rail corridor and the backyards and underfloor area of older houses.

 

The report also reveals a series of alarming errors in the preparation of the plans, including:

 

  • Identifying the Dibble Avenue waterhole, the Marrickville golf course and a number of local church bitumen forecourts as public open space in the main strategy map – when none of these areas can be accessed for this purpose

  • Proposing the destruction and redevelopment of beautiful Federation homes at David St at Marrickville, which is a listed heritage conservation area and recognised as one of the suburb’s most historic streets.

  • Failing to reference and plan for the fact that the suburb is home to an endangered bandicoot colony.

 

Save Dully Action Group spokesperson Jessica D’Arienzo said the impact report would provide a useful platform for discussions in upcoming workshops with the Department of Planning and Environment.

 

“We hope the report gives the NSW Government a much greater understanding of the impacts of these plans in our suburb to help inform its decisions,” Ms D’Arenzio said.

 

“Our earnest hope is that the Planning Minister Rob Stokes tours the suburb before making any decisions about this urban renewal plan.

 

“This report shows that these plans have a range of excessive and unwarranted heritage, infrastructure, open space and environmental impacts on our suburb.

           

“We have already submitted our report to the Department of Planning and Environment to give it a greater appreciation of our situation.”

 

The Dulwich Hill suburb impact report is in line with submissions from Marrickville and Canterbury Councils, which delivered scathing assessments of the plans due to their lack of planning for infrastructure and severe and unwarranted impacts on local heritage and character.

 

A copy of the report can be found at http://media.wix.com/ugd/abe8e9_06e0efba62e248d1b13030468d15e91a.pdf

 

To view the artist's impressions in the report, please go to https://www.flickr.com/photos/137035443@N03/

Report reveals brutal impact of Dulwich Hill plans

February 22, 2016

THE Save Dully Action Group today called for the immediate removal of a consultant hired by the NSW Government to lead community consultation on the Sydenham to Bankstown urban renewal corridor strategy, after it was revealed this consultant is also acting on behalf of property developers.

 

Elton Consulting has been facilitating and organising a series of community workshops during May on the government's urban renewal plans, which will destroy large swathes historic inner-Sydney Federation-era suburbs with high-rise development.

 

However, Elton Consulting has also penned a submission to the NSW Government, on behalf of property owners, seeking that the government rezone existing industrial land at 17-21 Unwins Bridge Rd, Sydenham, to allow up to 37,400 sq/m of residential and employment development in heights up to six storeys.

 

The same submission also calls for the rezoning of a 700m long broader precinct, including the above site, to allow 131,000 sq/m of residential and employment development – which is likely to lead to more than 1,000 units if approved.

 

This submission can be found at http://planspolicies.planning.nsw.gov.au/?action=view_submission&job_id=7313&submission_id=138082

 

"It is deeply troubling that the consultant hired to seek the voice of the community is the same consultant pushing property development in the corridor," a spokesperson for the Save Dully Action Group said.

 

"We can have no confidence that our grave concerns about the gross overdevelopment levels in this strategy will be properly considered and reported back to government by this consultant, when the same consultant has a vested interest to ramp up development.

 

"This consultant should be removed immediately from this role.

 

"The community consultation undertaken on this urban renewal strategy has been a major disappointment from start to finish.

 

"The Department of Planning failed to undertake a letterbox drop notification of residents when the draft strategy was first announced in October last year and then held poorly promoted and staffed drop-in sessions supported by mistake-filled and unclear maps.

 

"We appreciate the Department has sought to remove these mistakes, made the maps clearer and held community workshops for this round of consultation, but has now made the further mistake of hiring a new consultant with inappropriate links to large-scale property development."

 

The Sydenham to Bankstown urban renewal plans support some 36,000 homes, mainly through the inappropriate redevelopment of low-scale and historic suburbs.

 

"These plans if left unchallenged will change the historic face of Sydney's inner-west for the worse. They are also not supported by sufficient infrastructure and destroy existing affordable housing and precious habitat for the endangered bandicoot."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dulwich Hill's iconic bandicoots under threat

February 16, 2016

WHILE residents are required to modify minor home extensions to protect Dulwich Hill's endangered bandicoot population, developers could destroy large swathes of the native animal's habitat across the suburb.

 

Dulwich Hill is home to just one of two recognised endangered colonies of bandicoots in Sydney.

 

These bandicoots – which are small marsupials up to 40cm long – are known to use the under-floor areas of older homes and backyards for habitat, along with light and heavy rail corridor.

 

Despite this, urban renewal plans released for Dulwich Hill as part of the Sydenham to Bankstown corridor seek to rezone at least eleven blocks of low-density residential land where planning controls are in place to protect bandicoots.

 

Save Dully Action Group spokesperson Jessica D'Arienzo said the plans gave inadequate consideration to bandicoot protection.

 

"The plans do not once specifically mention the local population of endangered bandicoots and also do not show the council's biodiversity or bandicoot protection areas on its development constraints map,” she said.

 

"This is not good enough - effectively our local bandicoot population is being wiped off the map.

 

"We feel the lack of focus on our local biodiversity is another reason these plans are poorly prepared and have excessive impact."

 

Shani Prosser, a Hercules St resident, was required by Marrickville Council in 2014 to change building plans for her parents’ granny flat to include piers under the floor area and install gaps in her fence to help accommodate the local bandicoot population.

 

"However, under these plans, my property could be developed into unit blocks - obliterating the backyard space loved by bandicoots,” Ms Prosser said.

 

"While local residents building small additions need to make changes to their plans and accommodate the bandicoots, the NSW Government seems happy to allow large developers to do as they please."

 

 

In August 2014, another Dulwich Hill resident’s dog caught a bandicoot near her property in The Parade. This resident’s home is also slated for redevelopment.

 

"Bandicoots are a local icon in our area and we should be doing everything possible to preserve them, not destroy their habitat,” the resident, who did not wanted to be named, said.

 

"In addition, our suburb is also home to an amazing variety of other wildlife, ranging from flying foxes to blue-tongued lizards, which use our backyards which are now under threat."

 

Marrickville Council has two planning controls to help protect the bandicoot: a mapped biodiversity corridor in its NSW Government-approved local environmental plan and a bandicoot protection area in its council-approved development control plan.

 

Before approving developments in the biodiversity corridor, the council must consider whether the developments will have an impact on local biodiversity – including the bandicoot (see Clause 6.4 of the Marrickville LEP at www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/maintop/view/inforce/epi+645+2011+cd+0+N.)

 

Additionally, development consent cannot be granted unless the biodiversity impacts are avoided, minimised or mitigated.

 

The Save Dully Action Group has produced a map showing the low-density areas in the council's biodiversity corridor which could be redeveloped under the NSW Government's plans (see below).

Community groups call on Minister Stokes to come clean on station towers

 

Thursday, 7 January 2016

 

TWO community groups based along the proposed Sydenham to Bankstown urban renewal corridor have expressed concern about secret plans to build high-rise apartment towers above railway stations.

 

The Save Dully Action Group and the Hurlstone Park Association want the NSW Government to clarify whether and when residents will have the right to comment on any such plans.

 

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 19 December that the NSW Government was seeking expressions of interest from the future private Metro rail operator to develop the air space above railway stations from the CBD to Bankstown. [1]

 

The story was based on information from Hong Kong based rail operator and property developer MTR Corporation, which has built towers up to 60 storeys above stations in Asia and is actively bidding for the Metro contract. 

 

The urban renewal plans currently on exhibition show no proposed development above the stations.

 

The Save Dully Action Group wrote to Planning Minister Rob Stokes to seek clarification on the issue before Christmas and is waiting for a reply.

 

"Already some 36,000 new homes are proposed in precincts along the rail line - which will have major impacts on existing low-density areas - and now we are told that air space could also be developed above railway stations," said Save Dully Action Group spokesperson Jessica D'Arienzo.

 

"The fact that developers are secretly submitting plans for towers above stations proves once again that this strategy is developer-led, not community-led.

 

"Our fear is that these developments will be a later addition to the plans, once other matters have been settled, and be completely out of scale with the local area.

 

"We are also concerned about the potentially unfavourable living environment for future corridor residents given they will be living above an extremely noisy goods line, along with the potential demolition of our heritage-listed railway station at Dulwich Hill.

 

Hurlstone Park Association spokesperson Craig Field said a planning expert had recently criticised the MTR model for creating "fortress" communities above railway stations which were built purely for profit and did not properly integrate with the surrounding area.

 

"The NSW Government needs to come clean with local communities about how these plans for apartment towers will be dealt with under the planning system, including whether residents will have the right to participate in meaningful consultation.

 

"Given that community consultation on the urban renewal plans is due to finish on 31 January, we need a speedy response from the NSW Government on this issue.

 

[1] See http://www.smh.com.au/national/hong-kong-rail-operator-mtr-corporation-seeks-to-strengthen-presence-in-sydney-and-melbourne-20151215-glo3b8.html  and http://www.smh.com.au/national/hong-kong-metro-system-operators-mtr-spread-value-capture-message-to-australia-20151215-glo0wq.html

 

‘Fortress’ warning for Sydenham to Bankstown corridor

Tuesday, 10 November, 2015

 

Comments from a visiting planning expert that building high-rise communities along rapid transport lines could create sub-standard “fortress” communities was a timely warning about urban renewal plans for the Sydenham to Bankstown corridor, a residents’ group said today.

 

Guy Perry, Asia Pacific executive director of buildings and places, AECOM, said high-rise projects around railway stations in Hong Kong were “fortresses” which did not integrate with nearby areas and nearby schools were “five-times over-subscribed”.

 

“This is exactly the sort of outcome we could get if current plans for the Sydenham to Bankstown corridor are not changed,” said Save Dully Action Group spokesperson Jessica DArienzo.

 

“The plans released in particular for Dulwich Hill do not respect the character of our beautiful garden heritage suburb – by seeking to bulldoze single-storey homes for unit blocks up to eight storeys high.

 

“These plans have the potential to divide and destroy our suburb, in the way that Mr Perry is predicting.

 

“What’s more, these plans have been released without any detailed infrastructure scheme for schools, health, open space and child-care facilities."

 

Mr Perry told an Urban Development Institute of Australia conference: “"The new cities created around the metro stations are so oriented to create value for themselves at the expense of creating a more general fabric to the city ... they are set up almost as fortresses."

 

Meanwhile, the Save Dully Group is calling on NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes to help protect residents from unscrupulous developers in potential rezoning areas in the Sydenham to Bankstown urban renewal corridor.

 

“We recently learned that developers were harassing residents along the Parramatta Rd corridor, even before rezoning plans had been finalised,” Ms Jessica DArienzo said.

 

“We can also report however that residents in our area are being harassed by developers trying to con gullible residents out of their homes.

 

“At the initial Dulwich Hill community drop-in session in October, just a week after the plans had been issued, a developer in a shiny silver suit was approaching residents trying to buy their property.

 

“Alarming, the developer was overhead telling residents that, once the rezoning went through, the developer would lodge amending applications seeking height limits much higher than the rezoning allowed.

 

“At a recent public meeting at Ashbury, residents also reported they were being approached by developers.

 

“These plans are indicative only and currently subject to public consultation – which needs to be extended to February next year.

 

“Unscrupulous developers are undermining the consultation process and should butt out.

 

“It is possible they could be trying to buy people’s properties for a cut-price amount.

 

“We call on Planning Minister Stokes to write to the Urban Taskforce, Property Council and Urban Development Institute of Australia to ask for them to write to their members, seeking that they stop harassing residents.”

 

For the original story on Mr Perry, see www.smh.com.au/nsw/high-rise-living-at-train-stations-suburban-cellulite-warns-healthy-cities-expert-20151106-gkt23c.html.

 

For the Parramatta Rd story see http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/parramatta-road-developers-circling-before-plans-are-complete-20151104-gkqfc8.html

 

Residents want information and input into major density changes

Thursday, October 29, 2015

 

The NSW Government needs to put more effort into making locals aware of how the Dulwich Hill community and the suburb’s infrastructure will be impacted by plans to massively increase housing density, according to a residents’ group.

 

The newly-formed Save Dully Action Group said the Dulwich Hill precinct plan as part of the Sydenham to Bankstown urban renewal corridor proposed to increase the area's overall housing by 37 per cent.

 

"This plan proposes turning existing streets of single-storey homes into canyons of unit blocks up to eight storeys high," said a group spokesperson. "Locals have the right to be told about the plans in detail and also have the chance to influence what is happening in their neighbourhood.”

 

"This is the biggest single proposed change to the character of Dulwich Hill since it was first developed as a garden suburb around 120 years ago and yet the current consultation effort is inadequate and the released plans are confusing, lacking in important detail and potentially misleading.”

 

The Save Dully Action Group calls on the government to expand and revise its consultation process. This should include:

 

  • Extending the exhibition period from 6 December to 22 February

  • A letter drop box of all residents in the precinct, including personalised information about how the zoning in their street could change as a result of the plans

  • Producing indicative artist's impressions showing the impact of the rezoning plans

  • Clearer and revised zoning maps – the existing maps use a very similar shade of yellow to show both four-storey and single dwelling zones which is causing community confusion

  • New photographs – the existing plan shows two-storey terrace houses as a typical development in potential four-storey zones and five-storey units in potential seven-storey zones which could be misleading the community

  • A detailed plan as to how necessary school, community, health, local traffic and open space infrastructure will be provided – rather than the current weak infrastructure analysis which says this will be examined “as the corridor develops".

  • Holding discussion forums supported by improved information.

 

Commenting on the plans, the spokesperson said: “It is pleasing that the plan recognises that the area's heritage and character is a constraint on development, along with its small land sizes, but then inappropriately proposes to rezone areas containing Federation cottages, including some on small allotments, into unit blocks.”

 

"In addition, houses in single dwelling zones will look up to four rising to eight storey buildings. The outcome if left unchanged is likely to be 1960s style development; chaotic, disorderly and ugly.

 

Meanwhile, the Dulwich Hill public school and council child care centre will not only be over-looked by high-rise buildings but also face being over-whelmed by the additional population crush due to the lack of planning for additional infrastructure.”

 

"If these plans are ever put in place, they will be used as the basis for rezonings and future development. Governments and developers will claim, 'You had the chance to have your say'.

 

"But right now many residents don't recognise how dramatically their suburb might change, or how this proposed increased density will be supported by infrastructure.”

 

NOTE: The Save Dully Action Group has been formed in response to the Sydenham to Bankstown urban renewal investigation. Already it has assembled dozens of residents on a mailing list and is meeting regularly.

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