Urban Taskforce calls for action on high-rise developments

Property development industry group, Urban Taskforce Australia, has supported the recently announced redevelopment of the Waterloo social housing estate, saying that the NSW government should support similar projects across Sydney.

Plans for the Waterloo redevelopment followed the announcement of the new Waterloo Metro Station. The redevelopment will cover land owned by the NSW Government, including the Waterloo social housing estate and the land around and above the new Waterloo metro station, known as the Metro Quarter. It also includes a number of privately owned properties.

Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson said the NSW Government’s promotion of high rise development at Waterloo should also occur on private sector sites around railway stations. However, he said, in a pre-election environment much planning is on hold.

“We support the extent of development proposed at Waterloo but the government seems to be concerned about similar developments in Marrickville and Ryde where planning has been delayed.”

“This 18 hectare site has the potential to create a community around a public park with a diverse mix of housing types.The three options presented for public discussion have a large park and buildings up to 40 floors high as well as a diversity of other housing types.

“It is pleasing to see the NSW Government proposing 40 storey buildings along with 20 and 30 storey residential towers around the proposed metro station. This gives the private sector confidence that tall residential buildings are supported at a time when there is much community concern about the changing character of Sydney.”

“With a potential for 7,200 new homes on the 18 hectare site the density will be above 800 people per hectare with an average of 2 people per dwelling. This density is similar to the award winning Central Park developed by the private sector.”

“An advantage of the large site is that open space can provide significant amenity with parkland areas of up to 4 hectares. The proposed inclusion of locations for businesses, retail and restaurants will further support the creation of a new community with 30 percent of the new homes being for social housing.”

“The Urban Taskforce supports the use of large sites, like the old brewery site on Broadway, for urban renewal projects as their scale can create the amenities and open space for the new community. We believe that there are many decaying industrial sites across the inner west that could produce quality developments like the one proposed at Waterloo. The proposed development by Mirvac in Marrickville has very similar built forms to the government’s proposals at Waterloo.”

However the Urban Taskforce expressed concern at the 15 to 20 year proposed time frame for the redevelopment of the Waterloo site and the impact it would have on local residents.

“The government should look at ways to fast track the project while ensuring that existing residents do not have to move twice in the relocation program.”

“The NSW Government does seem to be sending mixed messages by promoting their own project on government owned land while at the same time putting private sector proposals on hold for some years in Ryde and along the Sydenham to Bankstown metro rail line.

“The NSW Government must support taller apartment buildings around all metro stations and not only do this on their own site. At a time of a big swing in Sydney towards urban living the government must provide leadership to the community about the new shape of the city by supporting private development as well as public development. Unfortunately the pre-election environment has made the government nervous about development on private land and this will slow down housing supply.”

More information about the Waterloo Estate development is here.

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