The meeting, convened by FLAG: Residents Impacted by Harold Park (no relationship to the FLAG group affiliated with TGSI), attracted over 100 residents to discuss community concerns about the Harold Park (HP) development.
OVERVIEW OF THE MEETING
The meeting, convened by FLAG: Residents Impacted by Harold Park (no relationship to the FLAG group affiliated with TGSI), attracted over 100 residents to discuss community concerns about the Harold Park (HP) development. The meeting was ably chaired by our local state government member, Jamie Parker, who provided a brief history of the HP development including the roles of Council and the Central Sydney Planning Committee in the process. There were two main speakers – Andrew Rolfe on behalf of FLAG and myself as President speaking on behalf of the Society. Andrew Rolfe’s contribution focused on encouraging attendees to sign the FLAG petition and to write individual submissions to CSPC members and relevant state government ministers.
Jamie Parker outlined his perspective in some detail and focused on arguments that further traffic studies were needed. His view was that traffic studies to date looked at ‘traffic at the boundaries’ of the development and were inadequate. Jamie argued that a ‘traffic micro simulation study’ is essential and explained that Leichhardt Council was not in a position to cover the areas that would need to be included in such a study. Jamie also expressed concern that with the sequence of building being scheduled over some 8 years it was quite possible that as time went on the developers would seek changes to the plans on economic grounds with consequent impacts on, for example, the commitment to the Tramsheds. The matter of the use of the Tramsheds needs to be determined soon.
Questions from the audience covered areas such as:
- Clarification of the maximum an desirable heights of buildings
- Who can or should carry out the micro-simulation of traffic
- Concerns about water flow and potential for flooding on the site
- Demographic impacts on, for example, child care and schools
- Traffic impacts of Tramsheds and general inadequacy of existing road network
- Social impacts of development including impact on the PCYC and Hockey Club activities
In summary, this was a successful meeting that allowed members of the community with concerns about the HP development to express their views on continuing concerns with the development as a whole. It also confirmed the Society’s main concerns about building heights and traffic impact reflect the concerns of the community more generally.
The Society distributed a flyer with the fifteen ‘Planning Principles’ developed by the Society and approved at community meetings in 2010. Against each Principle was a note to say which had been achieved in terms of inclusion in the Council’s ‘Planning Proposal’ that had been established before the purchase of the site by Mirvac. The Planning Proposal was essentially a statement of the parameters within which developers are expected to work.
My speaking notes are provided below.
Thanks to FLAG for the opportunity to speak on behalf of TGSI and contribute to community efforts to get the best possible outcomes from development at HP.
I will briefly outline the actions taken to date by TGSI to ensure that any action flowing from this meeting builds on what has been achieved already – we are working to a common goal and need to pull in the same direction.
TGSI has been working on this project since 2009 when Council opened up community consultations with view to establishing parameters for the development of the site. TGSI also held its own community meetings notably two in 2010 that developed a set of 15 ‘Planning Principles’. These could also be described as ‘desirable features’ for any development on the site. The Principles were sent to Council and clearly informed their work when Council was developing the framework within which developers were expected to work (the Planning Proposal).
We are pleased with many of the outcomes we achieved for the community through our lobbying and our 15 Planning Principles: In particular:
- Success in decreasing the commercial area inside Harold Park by 50%
- Achievement of 35% of space to be allocated as public space
- An affordable housing component on the site
There are other areas covered by the Principles where the jury is still out that is we cannot yet make judgments as the matters are in progress. But significantly there remain a number of major areas that do not comply with our Principles even though they meet the Council’s framework for developers. We believe these need more work and are discussed below under Issues<
The Current Situation
Mirvac bought the HP site in 2010 and we are now at the DA stage. Mirvac has submitted its Development Plans (DAs) to Council and the community’s comments and submissions on these Plans are now with Council and CSPC pending consideration of the Plans.
Our submission acknowledged that Mirvac has broadly complied with the Council’s planning framework. Nonetheless, we highlighted the areas where TGSI has residual concerns and is not yet satisfied as some of the key Principles we enunciated have not been dealt with in the Mirvac DAs. We wrote to Council about these concerns in 14 October 2011 and now await the circulation of the papers being prepared by Council staff as guidance to the CSPC and Council for the decision making process. These papers are expected in March or April.
In summary, Glebe Society actions are on hold for a month or so until we see the CSPC papers and can ask our Harold Park Working Party to consider these documents with a view to bringing recommendations to the Management Committee in relation to our next moves. We expect that we will be making further submissions on the subject and attending CSPC meeting to represent the views of our members and the community more broadly.
From the TGSI point of view these are many aspects of the development proposed by Mirvac that are not yet satisfactory. The main ones are:
- Heights of building which we continue to believe should not be higher than the cliff face. (Regardless of the number of storeys in the buildings it will be crucial to monitor the construction to ensure that the buildings do not exceed the specified height above sea level – we have learnt lessons from the way the heights of buildings on the Children’s Hospital site were increased long after the development was approved)
- Lack of convincing data on the traffic impacts of the developments despite the high profile series of traffic studies implemented. Aspects that concern TGSI include
- Overall volume of traffic that will be generated in the area by the number of residents on the site
- Nature of the commercial enterprises on the site – the type of commercial activity relates directly to the amount of associated traffic
- Amount of parking which although the DAs meet the Council standard the parking is not sufficient in our view
- The construction of the new intersection on the Crescent opposite Minogue Crescent which should be brought forward to accommodate traffic associated with the building of Precincts 1 and 2.
In addition, we are keen to see commitments by Council itself to timely attention to aspects of the development that are Council responsibility including design/construction of:
- The affordable housing precinct
- The playing fields
- Access to the Light Rail station
- Open spaces for community use
In conclusion, we believe that it will be crucial for the broad plans and intentions for the site as a whole, (not simply Precincts 1 and 2) to be discussed in the near future so that the community can understand what the final outcomes for the site will be at the end of the protracted construction period. We need to get the Big Picture and not just a picture of the first stage of the work.
Click here to read the Glebe Society’s flyer that was distributed at the meeting, an annotated version of the Glebe Society’s “15 Principles” document from 2010.
President, Glebe Society