Plans for the Ashmore estate in Erskineville, imposed on the City by the previous state government, are far more in the interest of developers than the community.
Over the last few months the Department of Planning has written to the City a number of times demanding changes be made to the draft Local Environment Plan so as to allow massive overdevelopment of the site. They told us that we had to change the zoning to a ‘mixed use’ zoning that allows a wide range of commercial development, they told us that we had to increase the maximum height allowed from 9 stories to 19 and that we had to more than double the allowable density.
This will completely destroy the plan for this site to become a new suburban village precinct and may cause some serious issues with such large buildings directly beneath a major flight path.
The changes were made at the request of the site’s owners, the property developer Goodman, who donated several thousand dollars to Kristina Keneally during her first term in parliament.
A representative from Goodman addressed a public meeting on the issue on the 29th of March but the content of the presentation had the potential to be very misleading – all they spoke about was three 19 story towers on the site. It made it sound like that was going to be the sum of the development there. They never mentioned that the rest of the site will be covered in other buildings as high as 12 stories. The several hundred local residents who turned up wouldn’t have a bar of it, they were extremely unhappy with this being imposed on them.
While this problem had been created by the former government the new government can’t shirk it’s responsibilities on the issue. It will be an important early test of the character of the new government to see whether they allow the City to fix the plan or whether they stick to the course set by Labor and allow developer interests to dominate.
In the meantime I would suggest that anyone concerned about the future of the area make a submission to Council as soon as possible. The more people speak out on the issue the more Council and the government will realise they can’t proceed with this massive overdevelopment.
Submissions can be made online at http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Development/CityPlan/DraftCityPlanMakingASubmission.asp