I have been contacted by many Ashfield and Summer Hill residents who hold serious concerns about the preliminary planning proposal for 114 Parramatta Road, Ashfield.
This proposal will allow 515 dwellings in towers as tall as 15 storeys opposite Ashfield Park. This is an outlandish proposal which does not represent sensible, strategic planning for our suburbs.
It is clear from my discussions with residents that there are three key issues with the proposal:
- The proposed bulk and scale is entirely out of character with the area and would have an unacceptable impact on Ashfield Park;
- The proposal would place significant pressure on local infrastructure with no strategic consideration; and
- The proposal does not conform to the community’s expectations or approved strategic planning documents.
I will expand on each of these issues below, drawing on the concerns community members have raised with me.
Bulk, scale and heritage
The proposal seeks to amend the building height and floor space ratio controls across the properties so that buildings of up to 15 storeys may be constructed. The intensity of this development is well above our community’s expectations.
With the surrounding neighbourhood consisting of mainly low density heritage homes and walk up apartment buildings of approximately four storeys, the scale of development will be totally out of character with this community.
The proposed interface on Gower Street will see an eight storey apartment building adjoining low density heritage homes with no height transition. Further, shadow diagrams included in the planning proposal documentation show that the scale of the buildings proposed will result in significant over-shadowing of homes to the south of the site.
Many residents have expressed concerns about the interface of this development with Ashfield Park, a heritage listed park which provides crucial open space and conservation value to this community.
The development as proposed would see two towers of eight and 12 storeys separated from this park by only a local road. This is an unacceptable imposition that would irrevocably change the character of this park, surrounding streets and homes.
Pressure on local infrastructure
Our community knows that local schools and infrastructure are already pushed to capacity. In fact, Ashfield Boys Public School and Summer Hill Public School are already over capacity. Summer Hill Ambulance Station is slated for closure and local hospitals are under pressure.
The proposed development would see 515 new homes constructed, placing significant pressure on existing schools, roads and public transport. This kind of ‘spot rezoning’, proposed without any strategic basis or coordinated infrastructure response, will undoubtedly put significant strain on already overcrowded local schools and create more traffic chaos on local roads.
Inconsistency with planning strategy
The Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy was finalised in 2016, following consultation and consideration from the local community. This proposed development deviates entirely from what the community was led to believe was the strategic intention of this area and further undermines important employment lands in this precinct.
The northern portion of the site was envisaged as B6 Enterprise Corridor development at heights of 16m. This was then reflected in the Ashfield Local Environmental Plan 2013. Attempts to significantly deviate from this plan, by introducing residential towers of 15 storeys in this precinct undermines the confidence our local community has in this strategic document.
For the reasons above, the community has expressed to me a strong view that development should not be supported.
It is an outlandish proposal that does not conform with the community’s understanding of the strategy for this neighbourhood.
It will have an unacceptable impact on surrounding heritage homes, local streets and Ashfield Park and place significant pressure on schools, parks and health services with no strategic consideration for infrastructure.