Header ImageYou may have noticed some graffiti on the construction site hoardings in Gladesville. Without condoning the graffiti, we have copied some pictures of it as header image for this email because we think it is a sign of community sentiment that could be held by many others – who might not actually paint it. From what we hear and observe, there is real concern amongst locals about this high rate of development.
Clarification by answering question we received
We received the following question from a subscriber. It is an excellent question, which is why we have distributed this answer to all subscribers.
My question relates to this statement from this newsletter: ‘Until now, the focus from both Councils has been on re-zoning Gladesville for high-density development.’.
I’m wondering, is this a statement of fact, based on Councils’ clearly stated objectives, or is it sarcastic in nature, reflecting on the reality of what’s actually happening around us and which isn’t openly acknowledged by the Councils?
If the former, then this is news to me and I’d like to find out more information. Who decided this? When? Why? What is the end goal; another Chatswood?
Thank you for the excellent question, which may be shared by others, so we provide this answer to the whole mailing list.
The use of the word “focus”
The reference to the focus being on redevelopment is reference to the lack of equivalent investment in planning to manage the inevitable consequences. We meant focus in terms of the lack of balance in efforts. We we would have preferred the amendment to Local Environmental Plans (LEP’s, which control building height and bulk) to be accompanied by revised master plans and timely development of Development Control Plans from both Councils, regulating aesthetic and other impacts of the developments as well as planning for investment in infrastructure and services, and communication of these plans to the public – for reassurance.
Why the rezoning for redevelopment
Both Councils have been required by the NSW government to amend LEP’s to create more dwellings. We acknowledge that the NSW government drove the creation of the new LEP’s in each Council, adding dwelling numbers in each municipality.
The Councils chose where to rezone to accommodate the dwelling targets.
Unfortunately we don’t have detailed information at hand about exactly how and when the NSW government drove the creation of those new LEP’s, but it has often been discussed and we accept that it was as claimed – driven by NSW government.
Council-by-Council: City of Ryde
Ryde has a larger footprint and other suburbs within its Local Government Area (LGA) have also been targeted for high levels of development. This is easily recognisable when considering areas such as Meadowbank and Macquarie Park.
It has not concentrated all of its development in Gladesville. However, we would like to have seen City of Ryde Council develop and communicate plans to invest in assets and services as described above.
Council-by-Council: Hunters Hill Council
Hunters Hill Council has rezoned Gladesville to take the overwhelming majority of new dwellings in it’s LGA. Given the proximity to Victoria Rd public transport services, some focus is to be expected – to some degree. However, there is a question of balance, about whether too much development is concentrated here vs other areas which also have good public transport links – most notably the Hunters Hill overpass area and along other main roads also served well by buses.
Similarly, we would like to have seen Hunters Hill Council develop and communicate plans to invest in assets and services as described above.
Also, Hunters Hill Council undertook actions during the 2008-2012 and 2012-2017 terms, which may exacerbate rather than mitigating the impact. We understand that the ‘Newbold Report’ and DCP review process was used to inform amendment to the Development Control Plan (DCP) for Gladesville in 2009 – a year in which TWO DCPs were made. The focus was to make the controls applicable to the GS’V’ site more development friendly.
At the very end of the 2008 – 2012 term, Hunters Hill Council deferred heritage listing of 10 Cowell St
Gladesville (after exhibiting the draft LEP with heritage listing included). Council did not decide that 10 Cowell St Gladesville
wasn’t worth heritage listing (expert recommendation clearly identified that it should have received such protection) – but apparently ran out of time to decide that – before finalising the 2012 LEP (at the end of the 2008-2012 Council term).
Then, at the start of the 2012-2017 term, instead of finalising the outstanding question about heritage listing, Council voluntarily entered into Option Deeds (like contracts) for the disposal of 10 Cowell St Gladesville
as well as other public assets adjacent to the GS’V’ development site. That action was authorised at the second
meeting of the 2012-2017 Council term, at which time new Councillors must be expected to be ‘learning the ropes’ and looking to more experienced peers for guidance.
Although ‘new’ Councillors of the 2012-2017 term may not have fully understood the history of the deferred heritage listing, not having served on Council during time when it occurred, there were Councillors and senior staff who carried across from the 2008-2012 term. Further, a transaction as significant as disposal of public land for ~$9.5m should have attracted sufficient attention that the combination of those events should not have been ‘unknown’ in a coordinated sense. Eventually, in 2016, a weaker heritage listing was applied but it was the first in Hunters Hill municipality which excludes its curtilage, and that limitation was not included in the Davies (heritage expert) recommendation. We believe that the exclusion of curtilage was introduced not to limit the aspiring developer, having just sold our previously-public asset to them.
Publicly owned heritage assets are easier and ‘fairer’ to protect, in the sense that applying restrictions to public assets does not concentrate the financial impact of restricting actions of the site owner – to a private individual – but rather is borne by the whole community – just as the whole community benefits from amenity of its continued existence.
We are not alone in our view that we should expect better from Hunters Hill Council, which claims to be a champion of heritage. You can read more about the disappointment with Hunters Hill Council’s handling of the Heritage listing and the disposal of 10 Cowell St Gladesville, which occurred alongside rezoning of Gladesville for a high level of redevelopment, at:
We hope that this additional information provides better understanding about what was meant in our original comment.
From the Committee of Gladesville Community Group Inc.