Planning Proposal for Gladesville Shopping ‘Village’ not supported by Hunters Hill Council

Hi Everyone,

Hunters Hill Council votes not to support the Planning Proposal for Gladesville Shopping ‘Village’

At last night’s General Meeting of Hunters Hill Council the first of two Options recommended by Architectus (Council’s consultant) was carried.

Architectus, has been engaged to assess the merit of the Planning Proposal in which the owner of Gladesville Shopping Village seeks to increase the maximum height control to 58m (16 storeys) and the floor-space-ratio to 3.4 (from 2.3 and 2.7 at various points on the site), and to make recommendations to Council as to how Council might treat the Proposal. The two options they recommended were to a) not support the Planning Proposal in submission to the state government, or b) give the applicant more time to provide information to address a list of outstanding issues – all of which were understood to have already had clarification requested.

All Councillors voted not to support the Planning Proposal, except Councillor Astridge. This is surprising given Councillor Astridge’s platform when seeking election in 2012, including “No selling of community owned land to developers” – see here http://huntershilltrust.org.au/2012/08/hunters-hill-council-elections-2012/

Where to from here?

The NSW Department of Planning allows an applicant seeking a spot amendment to the Local Environmental Plan (like the one contemplated at Council last night) to take their Planning Proposal directly to the state government, without local council support. The state government can approve the Proposal without local council support, and we expect that to be the applicant’s ultimate intention.

What do we think might happen?

From the plans exhibited, the applicant expects to build across the site where the timber cottage at 10 Cowell St stands (as well as the at-grade open car-park further up Cowell St, and land on Massey St).

The applicant will take legal ownership of the timber cottage at 10 Cowell Street on 4th April, having been sold it by Hunters Hill Council. This disposal surprised local residents and other community members alike as it was not subject to any public consultation before the agreements were entered into, and there was no public or competitive tender for the sale. The disposal was also arranged before Council decided whether to apply the heritage listing to the property, an issue which was outstanding since before the agreements were entered into to facilitate the sale. Eventually, Council did resolve to grant heritage protection, but when the listing was amended in the Local Environmental Plan the property’s curtilage was excluded – despite no such limit being applied to any other heritage listing by Hunters Hill Council and no such limit to the listing in the motion approved by Council. You can read more about that here http://huntershilltrust.org.au/2016/02/councils-sale-of-public-land/#more-4316

We expect that the developer will pursue approval from the NSW state government to build higher and build even more units than the planning instruments currently permit – approx 180 just on this expanded GSV site, apart from all the other new unit blocks being build in Gladesville. We expect that the developer will want to use the limit on the heritage listing to build over the site where the timber cottage stands at 10 Cowell St, given that they will own it from 4th April after Hunters Hill Council sold it to them.

The resolution not to support the Planning Proposal last night is welcome, but it stands apart from a series of events and actions in the management of the Gladesville Shopping Village site and adjacent (until now) public land, by Hunters Hill Council that we don’t believe reflect the expectations of the community. But, to be clear: we do not expect or claim that the actions of Hunters Hill Council, staff or elected Councillors, have been illegal.