Congratulations and well done – at last count 298 people or groups had made submissions to Hunters Hill Council about the proposed redevelopment of Gladesville Shopping Village (GSV) – ‘Quinn Towers’# as it’s being referred by some. That’s a fantastic achievement, to have 298 people take time out of busy schedules and find the time to make submissions about this development. Participating in the planning approval process by making a submission was the best way to channel the passion people feel about this development, so WELL DONE EVERYONE!
The DA for GSV
Architectus will be reviewing these submissions as part of their assessment of the Development Application and will report to the Council. The Council will make its formal submission to the Joint Regional Planning Panel, incorporating the report from Architectus. We do not yet know the expected timing of these events, and the JRPP has not yet scheduled the meeting to determine this DA.
A BETTER Development Control Plan (DCP)
Some people have been given the impression, from comments made by Council, that assessment of a DA for the GSV site is in the hands of State Government and out of the hands of Council. The full picture is that our Council can draft and adopt DCP’s for sites within the municipality, which set the ‘ground rules’ for Development. The ‘rules’ in the DCP’s are given legal backing in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act – so they’re very important when it comes to determining any given DA. So, although the Council is not the consent authority for this DA, the JRPP is, the Council have created a set of the rules against which it will be evaluated. There are other factors which will be taken into account, also, but the DCP should not be ignored, and Council’s ability to influence the outcome should not be underestimated.
We don’t know whether this particular DA will be approved or rejected, but if it is rejected we need to make sure no future DA can be submitted with modifications which address the specific reason(s) for rejections, but would still create most of the negative impacts to which so many of us have objected.
The importance of the DCP is the reason why the Open Letter, which is attached, was written and signed by Richard Li and Russell Young as a call to immediately restore the provisions of the first DCP of 2010 through adoption of an interim instrument, and conduct a proper process to draft a suitable DCP for the future. Deputy Mayor Meredith Sheil and Councillor Justine McLaughlin have replied in their individual capacities (not an official reply on behalf of Hunters Hill Council) and given broad support the call, and we thank them for their commitment. Their responses are also attached, along with a letter of explanation of the evolution of these DCP’s, written by Council management. Councillor Gary Bird is limited in what he can say, as legal advice prevents him from participating in certain activities, but he expressed his opinion strongly at the ‘traffic, parking, and pedestrian safety meeting’ at Gladesville RSL club, and we feel that we can count on his support for a BETTER DCP.
For those who wondered ‘how can this be possible’ and tried to evaluate this DA against the DCP, you may have found that the Council had a DCP of 2013 which was adopted after submission of the DA, and there was a DA which could be found on Council’s website, adopted in 2010. The 2010 DCP which could easily be found had some controls such as setbacks and landscaping requirements, which aimed to soften the impact of such a development on the streetscape. What we only discovered after writing to Council about improving the DCP, is that a second DCP was adopted in 2010, which favours the developer and removed some of these controls – thus allowing the situation (for example) where a 14m sheer wall (1 & /2 telegraph poles tall) could be built all the way to the footpath on the corner of Cowell and Flagstaff Streets, where the Timber Cottage currently stands. Below is a summary of key aspects of the two DCP’s of 2010.
Timber Cottage at 10 Cowell Street – Council’s decision not to Heritage List
Continuing on the (‘Yes, Prime Minister’) theme of actions by Hunters Hill Council management which make it hard for residents to understand what’s happening, many of you will have heard a member of our group, Justin, speak about the timber cottage at 10 Cowell St, at previous meetings. He has provided this updated timeline to help explain this history of the timber cottage not being Heritage listed, against the views of Paul Davies who was engaged by Council to undertake a review, as well as The Hunters Hill Trust, and other organisations and experts who are interested in the preservation of items of Heritage significance.
In short, the expert engaged by the Council to review and make recommendations on Heritage listing of assets in the municipality did recommend that 10 Cowell Street be upgraded to a Heritage Listing. In the draft LEP which the Council publicly exhibited, 10 Cowell St was included as an item of local heritage importance, and given heritage listing under Schedule 5. However, when it came time to adopt the LEP, the Council removed the listing on the property, making it easy for a developer to demolish it and extend a shopping centre right across the site. When questioned council said they hadn’t had enough time to review all of Paul Davies recommendations at that time, and that this property, along with others, would be reviewed subsequently. No review was undertaken since these events in 2012 prior to the lodgement of this DA, but it is in progress now and we expect the Council to find, contrary to the Davies report and The Hunters Hill Trust recommendations, that the property does not warrant listing. The Council has negotiated a deal, the details of which remain secret, which allow the developer to buy this property from the Council.
It is important to note that during the council meeting back on 11th June 2002, the council defended the restoration project then undertaken by the council on 10 Cowell St. In the Report of General Manager, the council’s General Manager at the time (Barry Smith) is quoted as saying “…Council can now justifiably point to its own work as an example of what can be achieved in heritage and conservation building works”.
Media Coverage of GSV Development Application and proposed Coulter St Development
We’re pleased that Robbie Patterson of the Northern District Times saw the GSV Development issue worthy of reporting and his last article, as reported in the Daily Telegraph, can be read on the link below.
Robbie also reported on residents’ concerns about possible plans for Ryde Council to co-develop the site of the Coulter Street carpark, with Gladesville RSL.