I would like to raise a number of objections to proposals for the exhaust stack depicted in the recently released Draft addendum to the M4 East Urban Design and Landscape Plan.
Like the many residents who have contacted my office since the addendum was released, I am concerned that the proposed ventilation stack is too high, does not integrate well with the unique heritage of Haberfield, and has failed to incorporate the views of the community in its design.
My core objections to the current proposals for the stack are:
I strongly object to this unfiltered exhaust stack being placed in close proximity to homes, schools, child-care centres and nursing homes.
The stack, at 42 metres high, is considerably higher thanthe Bunnings clock tower opposite and is far taller than residents had been led to believe.
Residents are also concerned with the considerably larger footprint of the buildings and the scale of the proposed brick wall, which will create a visual barrier to visitors entering the suburb from the West.
The proposed stack in no way complements or contributes to the significant heritage values of the surrounding neighbourhood.
This amounts to a slap in the face for residents who were assured during the Environmental Impact Statement process that the stack would align with the heritage of the suburb.
Haberfield is nationally recognised as the world’s first garden suburb. The surrounding streets are predominantly Federation-era cottages and bungalows and form the Haberfield Conservation Area.
The modern facility proposed is an affront to the generations of residents who have sacrificed much in order to preserve the heritage of the suburb. It will significantly undermine the value of the Conservation Area.
The designers have failed to meaningfully integrate the stack with the surrounding dwellings or the Bunnings tower opposite.
The proposed stack is far taller and in no way references the art-deco inspired architecture of the Tower.
As noted earlier, the proposed wall creates a visual barrier to visitors from the West. While similar bricks have been used, there is little to reference the Federation era of the surrounding homes. This is most evident on the streetscape on Walker Ave, where the scale and materiality of the wall provides little reference to the houses opposite or adjacent.
Wall gardens or other elements could have provided a greater sense of integration, whilst also speaking to Haberfield’s reputation as a garden city.
Residents are furious that meaningful consultation has not been entered into prior to these plans being announced, seemingly at the eleventh hour.
The Environmental Impact Statement was clear that the design of the stack would be in keeping with the heritage values of the surrounding suburb. Their responses and submissions to the process were offered accordingly. Residents feel as though this modern, ugly design has been foisted on them with little regard for their input.
I strongly recommend that the designs for the stack be reviewed with respect to the comments above.
Haberfield residents are being forced to accept a polluting exhaust stack metres from child-care centres, schools and nursing homes. They shouldn’t have to accept a design that is an affront to their community.
I urge you to redesign this exhaust stack with a stronger view to the heritage, scale and connectivity that this important community deserves.