The Glebe Society has sent its Submission to the City of Sydney in response to the Harold Park Master Plan as proposed by Mirvac.  Please note that the Closing Date for submissions to council closed on 28th September.  The Glebe Society's submission follows:


The Glebe Society

26 September 2011
Silvia Corriera
Planning Department
City of Sydney
Dear Silvia
I am pleased to forward the Glebe Society’s comments on the proposals listed above. Broadly the proposals appear to conform to what has already been approved.
The Society met with representatives of Mirvac on 7 September and discussed variations from previous approvals, and also issues about which the Society continues to be concerned.
Positive Aspects
The Society is supportive of some aspects of the current proposal. These include:
·         the quantity of Public Open Space
·         provision for Affordable Housing
·         the inclusion of terrace-style apartments at ground level with direct access to the street, so the building blocks are less alienating and the likelihood of street life is increased.
·         The restoration of the Tramsheds with provision of 500 m of community facilities and development to be on one level. 
Issues of concern
  • aspects of the traffic management plan
  • height and density issues
  • configuration and access to the public open space
  • timing of some aspects including some within Council’s responsibility
Height and Density
The Society has previously raised concerns about the height of the buildings, some of which rise above the cliff line. There is strong community support for reducing the maximum height to six storeys, thereby answering the objections of nearby residents and retaining the important views from public areas.
The current proposed height is largely a result of the configuration of the site. The Society has consistently argued the proposed configuration of the site could be significantly improved to allow a reduction in building height from 8 storeys (and better access to parklands for the Forest Lodge and Annandale communities).
The proposed road network occupies a far greater area than is common in Glebe or Forest Lodge. Moreover, a substantial part is unnecessary: this proposal closes the roads between the three buildings in Precinct to create pocket parks, and also creates closures for a substantial part of the roads adjacent to the Crescent. Rather than design roads that can then be closed it would be better to eliminate them altogether and reduce the height of the buildings. The main access roads are also unnecessarily, and untypically, wide. It would not be difficult to produce a more rational and less wasteful layout with a reduced building height.
Traffic Management
The major access to the site is to be via a new intersection on The Crescent opposite Minogue Crescent. However, this is not proposed to be built until after Precincts 1 & 2. This puts unreasonable pressure on the intersection of Wigram Road and Ross Street, which is already congested at peaks.
The Society urges the construction of the new intersection be brought forward to coincide with the completion of Precincts 1 & 2. This would also have the benefit of increasing safe access to the site from Forest Lodge.
The Society notes the shared access from Maxwell Road, not due to be created until the new building against the cliff is built, is controversial and there are community concerns about the impact on the Toxteth Estate generally of this access point.
The Society welcomes the reduced scale of the new building, but it is necessary to strictly limit any access and the amount of parking, and prohibit vehicular access to any other part of the site from this building.
There are concerns about the adequacy of the on-site parking. Residents are concerned about the flow over impact on nearby street parking.
The best way to deal with this would be to reduce the density, which would also reduce the congestion on nearby roads caused by this proposal.
Public Open Space
The Society remains concerned about the accessibility of the proposed Public Open Space, especially from Forest Lodge and Annandale.
The City is currently preparing management plans for the areas on The Crescent north of the site, and for the area between the site and Jubilee Park Light Rail Station, popularly known as The Hill. These plans should be rapidly completed and implemented, as well as the new intersection.
Demolition of the site is well advanced. As soon as the area is sufficiently prepared the City should begin preparation of the new park, for which a large proportion of the cost has already been provided by the developer. This will ameliorate the effects of development, and provide a valuable resource for both existing and new residents.
The Society notes the utilisation of between 2%-3% of the public open space in a number of pocket parks at the ends of roads between the Precinct buildings. On the strong urging of the community, the Society has consistently argued that the public open space be continuous. This has been to avoid the de facto conversion of public open space to private open space by its location giving the perception of it being part of the private development.
The Society notes Mirvac’s assurances that the landscaping will ensure that there is no perception of the these pocket parks as ‘private’. It will be important that the landscaping and connections ensure the public nature of these parts of the public open space.
All Weather Sports Field
The construction of a sports field as part of the public open space has previously been agreed by Council as part of the overall proposal. The Society notes that there was some unease at the recent community consultation held by Mirvac as to the status of this commitment. As we understand it, this concern was unwarranted. The lack of information reflects the fact that responsibility for the sports field lies with Council and not Mirvac.
The Society urges Council to reaffirm its commitment to this needed community facility by ensuring its construction is part of the early preparation of the new parklands.
There is strong community interest in the adaptation and development of the Tramsheds. It is important that a commitment be made by Mirvac to restore and adapt the Tramsheds in conjunction with the construction of the other Precinct buildings.
The Society believes formal acceptance by Mirvac of the offer of $ 10 m for rehabilitation of accident victims is appropriate at this point. The offer is supported by Council.
The site proposed for parking for the Tramsheds appears to be the most appropriate.
The Society raised with Mirvac the issue of interpretation. This should include appropriate naming of the features of the site. We understand that at least the most historic tram is to be retained on site. The Diggers' Memorial for the Tramsheds is currently at the Leichhardt Bus Depot. It stood formerly in the award-winning Tramsheds garden, and every effort should be made to return it to this site.
Affordable Housing
The Society also suggests the City begin the development of the proposed Affordable Housing at the same time as Mirvac begins Precincts 1 & 2. As this is the area closest to Ross Street, the access is easiest, and this is the most urgently needed part of the development.
Yours sincerely,
Mairéad Browne
The Glebe Society