Setbacks to the Gladesville Shopping Village site – on Flagstaff Street

Hi Everyone,

Many of you will be aware that Hunters Hill Council has commissioned a consultation initiative branded as “Future Gladesville”, in which participants are being asked to describe various aspects of the character that they would like to see Gladesville take. This initiative is limited to influencing some of the more subjective or ‘softer’ elements of the Development Control Plan (DCP), and the Local Environment Plan (LEP) controls over Height and Floor-Space-Ratio (which translates to bulk) are not up for discussion.

Separately, Council is actually exhibiting a proposed change to the setback of the Gladesville Shopping ‘Village’ (GSV) site on Flagstaff Street. We were really pleased to see THIS proposed amendment to the DCP, but it has not been promoted with anywhere near the same effort that has gone into the Future Gladesville initiative. The setbacks were a key issue identified by the Community in nearly 280 submissions in response to the GSV owner’s application to redevelop the site, submitted to Council in 2013.

Setbacks are controls which are contained within the DCP, and they are an opportunity to stipulate that a development on a particular site must allow for deep soil planting, and other features which soften the impact on the neighbourhood. In reality, this is one of the critical controls which is objective, not subjective, and can actually codify the requirement for a development to be sympathetic to the existing streetscape – instead of a sheer 14m wall built flush to the footpath (for example).

Please take a moment to visit http://gladesvillecommunity.com/setback.html and make a submission.

We actually think that responding to the exhibition of the proposed change to the setbacks is the best opportunity that the community has been given, since the prevailing DCP was adopted, to influence Hunters Hill Council’s planning controls for Gladesville.

Kind regards,
Team at Gladesville Community Group

Presentations by Gladesville Community, Hunters Hill Trust submissions, parking meters, the Council budget, and sustainability

Hi Everyone,

Recent Events

Justin Parry-Okeden and Russell Young from Gladesville Community Group attended and presented to Council at the Council Meeting on 23 June, about the upcoming review of the Development Control Plan (applicable to the GSV site). Whilst we’re delighted that Council are revisiting the controls, we expressed concern that the first step would be to adopt an “Image and Branding” strategy for Gladesville, effectively delaying the important improvements which are so clearly desired by the community.

In our view, the elimination of setbacks to Cowell and Flagstaff Streets when the second DCP of 2010 was adopted (very quickly after the ‘Newbold report’) was a critical change which supported the extremely poor DA for GSV (recently withdrawn), and is an example of having gone too far to support the developer’s interests, against which community amenity was not adequately balanced.

We thank Deputy Mayor Meredith Sheil and Councillor Justine McLaughlin for their recognition of the validity of these concerns and their attempts to ensure that a commitment was made for timely and meaningful progress, from the meeting on 23 June.

Hunters Hill Trust Submissions

Please also find attached two recent submissions from the Hunters Hill Trust to the Council. 1) The Trust’s submission ahead of the upcoming DCP review, and 2) the Trust’s submission on the budget. We are grateful for the excellent work and support of the Hunters Hill Trust.

Parking

Parking meters are back on the agenda again. We attach articles scanned from 9 July’s TWT, including a letter to the editor from the President of the Gladesville Chamber of Commerce, Yvonne Dornan, and an article+picture against the meters. It is clear that parking meters are controversial, and the adequacy of parking was an issue identified by the Gladesville Community Group as being inadequately addressed in the DCP for the site.

We believe that it is clear; the redevelopment of GSV must create much more parking than is permitted under the current DCP. The number and size of developments in the Gladesville area will exacerbate the current shortage of parking, in which residential streets near Victoria Road are already saturated with all-day parking of staff working for retailers and other businesses in Gladesville.

We share the Gladesville Chamber of Commerce’s desire to see the revitalisation of the Gladesville Shopping Village, redeveloped into a vibrant and productive commercial centre. We believe, however, that the GSV redevelopment must be responsible, and it must handle the parking load which it will generate (note the attached picture from Top Ryde Shopping Centre, in which staff parking is accommodated).

Considering that the whole GSV site used to be a Council-owned car-park, and the residual 30 spaces in the open-air at-grade carpark are to be subsumed in the redevelopment, it must make an additional contribution to facilitate parking for visitors to the broader Gladesville area including Gladesville Public School, and the businesses on Victoria Road. If the DCP does not impose this restriction on the site, now, Gladesville will forever pay the price, felt by businesses, staff, local residents, and non-resident visitors alike.

Financial Sustainability – linking the budget, the parking meters, and the GSV development

The introduction of paid parking by non-residents was discussed in the attached report (pages18, 24, and 26) into the financial sustainability of Hunters Hill by the NSW Treasury Corporation.

The T-corp report made adjustments in order to calculate an Operating Result (excluding capital grants and contributions) which may be compared to peers, and focuses on operations under the control of Council management. Hunters Hill Council’s Operating Result (excluding capital grants and contributions) deteriorated from a deficit of $12,000 in 2009 to a deficit of $1,705,000 in 2012 (Section 3.3). Even more alarming, the outlook for the 10 years to 2022 showed consistent and deteriorating deficits (Section 4.1).

 

Section 6 of the T-corp report concludes Based on our review of both the historic financial information and the 10 year financial forecast within Council’s long term financial plan we consider Council to be moderately sustainable in the medium term, however they are likely to face financial difficulty in the longer term.

 

What does the municipality of Hunters Hill’s sustainability have to do with Gladesville? During the months following the lodgement of the application to redevelop the Gladesville Shopping ‘Village’, in which we learned how the DCP evolved and the Option derivative contracts were written to allow the developer to compel the Council to sell the open-air car-park and timber cottage at 10 Cowell Street, at the developer’s will, and the surprising lack of heritage protection afforded to the timber cottage at 10 Cowell Street, we wondered why the Council would have worked with such determination, for so many years, towards this outcome. One conclusion we have come to is that this may be seen a financial salvation.

We believe that a strong Council, one which can sustain its own operations, is a responsible Council. These assets earmarked for sale remain in public hands, now, because no Council administration in the past has ‘sold the silverware’ in order to bankroll financially unsustainable operations.

Assets sales should be strategic. They should serve the community. They should result in an enhancement, not reduction of community amenity. We will welcome a responsible redevelopment of GSV, even one which stands significantly higher than anything previously built in Gladesville, but it should be a good development. Council is in a better position to dictate the terms upon which public land will be sold into the development, and planning instruments amended to benefit a developer, when the sale is not required to ensure the Council’s long term financial sustainability.

If the Council cannot become sustainable, as measured by its Operating Result, we should expect the municipality to remain a target for amalgamation, and when this ultimately occurs the municipality will simply be scarred by inferior development and the loss of heritage along the way if projects like the GSV redevelopment continue without addressing the concerns raised by nearly 300 members of the public.

We recognise that metered parking may be one part of the solution, but the Chamber of Commerce’s concerns must be considered along with the broader issue of adequate parking for the Gladesville of the future, after all of the recent, current, and proposed development has been realised.

In any case, we believe that Hunters Hill Council should achieve a responsible and sustainable Operating Result (excluding capital grants and contributions) before any asset sales should be considered, and we hope that it will not sell any land into the redevelopment of GSV until the DCP review is complete, and the decade+ long parking-meter argument can be resolved within an integrated and comprehensive traffic and parking management plan for the whole of Gladesville, which is so badly needed at this time in which unprecedented development is being undertaken.

HHT AND HH Council’s BUDGET LH

HHT GSV LETTER TO HHC 24 JUN 14

Hunters Hill Sustainability Report

Incorporation of Gladesville Community Group, and withdrawal of DA for GSV

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a while since we’ve been in touch, but we have good news to share.

The Gladesville Community Group is now an Incorporated Association. This means that those who support and agree with the work we’ve done so far can show this by becoming members, and we’ll be in touch soon with the invitation to do exactly that. It also means we have a Constitution, a Committee, and a bit more formality to how we operate. Members who want to get more involved will be welcome, of course, but for those who just support what we stand for – Membership will be the way to show it.

The other good news is that the Applicant has withdrawn the Development Application for the Gladesville Shopping ‘Village’ redevelopment (DA 2013-1036). We expect that they will lodge a new application. We hope that this time around they will undertake meaningful public consultation, and come with a higher quality design. We believe there’s still a lot to be done to improve the planning controls to the standard deserved by this site and community, and to protect the timber cottage at 10 Cowell Street (as was expected when the draft Local Environment Plan for 2012 was exhibited).

Congratulations and thank you to all of you who spoke up against the DA that was lodged, by attending the consultation meetings, discussing with friends and neighbours, and making submissions to Council. Whilst we celebrate this achievement along the way, it’s certainly not over yet. We look forward to your support as we continue to work together to ensure that the redevelopment of the Gladesville commercial precinct leaves our community better-off, not worse-off.

Greens MP David Shoebridge applies for Heritage listing of 10 Cowell Street

Hi Everyone,

We are extremely happy to report that following recent presentations from concerned members of Sydney’s heritage community, David Shoebridge, Member of the NSW Legislative Council has written to the Hon. Robyn Parker MP, NSW Minister for Heritage and Environment calling for urgent protection of 10 Cowell St, Gladesville.

David’s concerns reflect those of several members of the community (including elected to Council) who have repeatedly called for the immediate heritage protection of 10 Cowell St, a site over which the Development Applicant proposes to extend the Gladesville Shopping Village shopping centre.

In recent communications to the Minister, David was quoted as saying “I urge you to take prompt action to give interim, and in due course final, heritage protection for this priceless part of our State’s history”.

We trust that Hunters Hill Councillors will support the request to the minister for State Heritage protection, ensuring that this last remaining example of our architectural heritage is retained in-situ for the value and enjoyment of future generations to come.

We are grateful to David for this action. We view this as the decisive use of his position to influence government to act in accordance of the wishes of the community, as expressed in the submissions regarding the GSV Development Application.

20 February 2014

To: Mayor Richard Quinn, Clr and Deputy Mayor Meredith Sheil, Clr Justine McLaughin, Clr Zac Miles, Clr Peter Astridge, Clr Mark Bennett, Clr Gary Bird

Re: DCP for Gladesville Village Centre

Dear Mayor Quinn and Councillors,

Following on from the Information Meeting with Architectus on Tuesday 11 February 2013, we are writing to renew the call for the immediate review and implementation of a new DCP for the Gladesville Village Centre. This call follows our previous request to you, written in November 2013 (copy attached).

The well-placed criticisms by Architectus come as no surprise to us and should go a significant way to explaining the anger and frustration expressed by members of the Gladesville community during the Council-conducted public forums in 2013.  Many were trying, without the expertise of architects, engineers, traffic controllers and builders, to tell you in layman’s terms what was discussed by Architectus this week.

What was apparent from several of the points raised by Architectus is that the DCP that applies to the Gladesville Shopping Village, as it currently stands, permits and perhaps even encourages some of the fundamental design flaws that were part of the DA submitted to Council.  In particular, it seems clear that, despite 2 pre-lodgement meetings with Architectus, ongoing discussions with Council and the clearly stated Design Principles of SEPP 65, the Developer had taken the view that, from a design perspective, the DCP permitted a significant departure from the contextual surrounds of our Gladesville amenity.

Additionally, while the DCP objective is to promote a vibrant community and to preserve public space, the Developer felt confident in submitting a proposal which not only restricted access to public space but also blocked the streetscape and visibility with high blank walls and minimal setbacks.  It is of utmost concern to us that the Developer was confident, despite its obvious relationship with Council (having privately negotiated a call option allowing the developer to acquire Council-owned property), to submit a proposal which, to quote Architectus, “had building finishes which lack quality, particularly for a project of this size and scale.”  This was the aesthetic that was considered appropriate for Gladesville!

It also appeared to us that, despite traffic and pedestrian access concerns being raised as a key issue at the first and second public forum in 2013, followed by a meeting with the Developer’s “traffic engineers”, many of the key concerns raised by the community and later by McLaren Traffic Engineering had been simply ignored by the Developer.  In fact, the highhanded attitude of the Developer’s traffic engineers, who laughed and told us that they were simply doing what was permitted by the DCP, was telling indeed.

This, with respect, is not a DCP that promotes public amenity or a design of the quality being constructed in the Hunters Hill Village.

Please bear in mind that questions over the extent of Council’s involvement in this project remain unanswered. There remains a strong possibility that amendments were made to the 2010 DCP, and consolidated in 2013, to allow the Developer even greater leniency in the design phase, with opportunity to lodge a new DA which will comply despite strong public objection.

This was also the impression we got from the discussions over the heritage protection of 10 Cowell Street.  Despite repeated questioning, letters and inquiries from members of the public in relation to 10 Cowell Street, Council staff oscillated from feigning surprise, to telling us the house was under heritage consideration, to telling us that the advice received was that it had no heritage value, to insisting that they had independent advice that there was no heritage significance attached to the property, to simply telling us the site was “to-be-determined”, but they could not confirm that 10 Cowell Street would not be demolished or sold to the Developer in the meantime.

Regarding 10 Cowell Street the General Manager, Barry Smith, is quoted in the minutes of Council meeting 4124 on 11 June, 2002 claiming [that] “the completed building is a tribute to the Council staff and contractors who undertook the work and Council can now justifiably point to its own work as an example of what can be achieved in heritage and conservation building works”. Council received a recommendation from Paul Davies (one of Sydney’s leading Heritage experts) to afford 10 Cowell St the protection of listing as a Local Heritage Item, when he was engaged by the Council in 2005 to audit properties in the municipality that are of Heritage significance. The Council was unable to make a decision regarding the heritage status of 10 Cowell Street in the Local Environment Plan of 2012, even though it was included as a Local Heritage Item under Schedule 5 in the draft of that LEP, which was publicly gazetted seeking community feedback. Instead of following the advice of the expert it engaged, and acting in a manner consistent with the Council’s own celebration of its achievement in heritage and conservation building works, the decision on whether to grant heritage protection to 10 Cowell Street was deferred in 2012 at the time of adopting the LEP, and remains unresolved. Notwithstanding the Council’s failure to decide on the Heritage protection to be awarded, the Council saw fit to enter into a contract to facilitate the sale of the property to a developer, likely to result in the loss of this important heritage item to the community of Gladesville – a staggering decision.

Architectus has now sought independent advice to confirm the expectation that 10 Cowell Street has heritage value.  Why is it incumbent upon members of the public to protect a heritage listing from the very councillors we elected to protect such sites?  Why are we having to dedicate our time and resources into making such inquiries, when we entrusted our Councillors with and, indeed, pay our Council to perform this responsibility?

We think the time has come to renew our call for a new DCP, with public consultation, which has clear design restrictions and objectives to support public space and which contextually connects Gladesville with the rest of the municipality. The number and the consistency of criticisms of DA 2013-1036 from the community, including 8 separate community groups, are a clear sign that this DA is not in keeping with community expectations. The de facto approval of some of its most undesirable attributes, aesthetically and functionally, show that we need a better DCP in place to prevent any similar DA being approved.

This will also be in Council’s best interests, as it may well avoid the enormous costs associated with engaging independent architectural and engineering expertise to nursemaid a development interest in the vague hope that it would provide some benefit to the Community.  This is not the rational approach that should be adopted by any Council, let alone one for which the operations yield financial deficit year after year.  As noted by Barrister Phill Jenkyn, during the Information Meeting, it is a gross waste of rate-payers’ money that such significant fees should have needed to be incurred in addressing the DA of this low quality, once received. A more efficient mechanism would be to prevent any such DA from being submitted in the hope of approval in the future by enshrining the requirements of quality in a proper DCP for the site.

We wish to thank Cllrs Meredith Sheil, Justine McLaughlin, and Gary Bird (who was, in our view, inappropriately placed in a dubious position of conflict) for their open support toward the cause of ensuring quality development for Gladesville. We hope that the clear message from the community and Architectus, that this poor-quality design is partially supported by the existing DCP, which was described by both Architectus and the Hunters Hill Trust as being inconsistent with the stated objectives of the LEP and the SEPP, provides all Councillors with the motivation to genuinely support this change.

We are looking for decisive actions, not simply words of support. We do not think that a timeline for the introduction of a new DCP, as requested by the community, should be dictated by a member of Council staff (see below), and the suggested timeline is unacceptable.

 

 LEP and DCP Strategic Review

The strategic review of these instruments will commence in 2014 and at the last Ordinary Meeting held on 9 December 2013, Council further resolved to review the controls applicable to the B4 zone in Gladesville. It is estimated the overall process will take not less than 8 months with changes (if any) unlikely to come into effect until 2015.” 

– Barry Smith (General Manager), email to Russell Young on 17 December 2013

 

As outlined in the attached letter, we request that Hunters Hill Council act immediately to adopt a DCP which will restore the site controls relating to GSV to those of the DCP of 2010-unrevised (which includes setbacks and landscaping requirements). This restoration should serve as an interim DCP while the longer process of developing a DCP of the quality of that applicable to Hunters Hill Village is undertaken, including the genuine consultation described above.

At the Information Meeting, Architectus indicated that substantial amendments to DA 2013-1036 are required to address some or all of the 5 “show-stoppers” identified in its review, which ultimately caused Architectus to recommend that this DA be withdrawn. Given the scope and the extent of the required amendments, we believe the Developer will have no option but to submit a new DA, and any attempt by the Developer to consider such changes to be amendments would be rejected and treated as a new DA by the consent authority. Time is of the essence for Hunters Hill Council to demonstrate its commitment to our community by reinstating the DCP of 2010-unrevised, so as to provide some protection while genuine community consultation is undertaken in the development of a proper DCP for Gladesville which is equivalent to the standard applied to the Hunters Hill Village.

We request that the Council put the future of our community and its wishes as clearly expressed, ahead of the interests of the Developer to which the Council has chosen to bind itself with an option instrument for the sale of 10 Cowell Street, currently without Heritage protection. Put simply, when the DCP is good there will not be 300 submissions involving 8 community groups objecting to a DA which is architecturally flawed but substantially compliant with the prevailing weak DCP.

We wish to reiterate that our community group is not against development. We want to see the GSV site redeveloped into a mixed use retail and residential centre of higher quality than the retail centre which exists today, integrating the sites of the at-grade carpark at 4-6 Cowell St, the units at 8 Cowell St, and the retail site bound by Massey St, into one well-designed centre. The heritage value of the timber cottage at 10 Cowell Street should be recognised by this Council, as it has by been preceding administrations – none of which have tried to sell it off without heritage listing and appropriate protection.

We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss and work with all members of the Hunters Hill Council who are committed to leaving a respectable legacy. While the pre-conditions which have allowed this DA to progress as far as it did, and consume rate-payers funds in managing it, were mainly adopted by the previous council, it is this current council to which the outcome will be attributed. It is this council that can draw a line in the sand, and say that what has happened in the past is not good enough. The poor management of heritage protection, the lack of transparency in adoption of DCP’s, and the overly-accommodating provisions of the current DCP are matters that the current council can set right. We implore you to heed the call of the community as expressed in submissions regarding DA 2013-1036, and act to safeguard quality development for the future. We look forward to working closely with you on this.

 

Richard Li                                Justin Parry-Okeden                          Russell Young

Presentation given by Architectus at last Tuesday’s meeting, and Hunters Hill Trust report

Hi Everyone,

Please find attached the presentation given by Architectus last Tuesday, and the Hunters Hill Trust’s report on the information meeting.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who made a submission. Architectus recognised 277 submissions, of which only 6 were supportive.

We appreciate the excellent work undertaken by Architectus, and are pleased that they have recommended withdrawal of the DA by the applicant – though this may not occur.

Please note that this is not the end of the matter. Whilst we count Architectus’ recommendation of withdrawal as a great result at this stage, we must expect the developer to keep trying to get their DA through so we must continue to stand up for the long-term interests of Gladesville. We want a quality development. We need Hunters Hill Council to adopt a Development Control Plan that will safeguard the interests of the community, and apply Heritage protection in accordance with community expectations.

We thank the Hunters Hill Trust, who have campaigned on matters of local significance since 1968. The expert analysis contained in their submission regarding the GSV DA was a source of great comfort to many of us, knowing that people with the knowledge, passion, and generousity were dedicating their time and applying their expertise to preserving the future of our suburbs. If you haven’t yet joined the Hunters Hill Trust, please consider doing so.

http://huntershilltrust.org.au/membership/

Architectus information meeting tomorrow (Tuesday 11 Feb) at 7pm

Hi Everyone,

Please don’t forget tomorrow night’s information meeting at HHC Chambers 7pm, during which Architectus will give an overview of the submissions received in response to the GSV development, including the split for-against and the nature of the issues raised.

For anyone who did not receive a letter from the council, please find attached a copy.

Sorry this reminder was not able to be sent earlier.

HHC Notice of info meeting

Pedestrain Access and Mobility Plan for the Gladesville Town Centre – submissions due by Friday 13 December 2013

Hi Everyone,

Please find attached information on the Gladesville PAMP, being developed jointly by Ryde and Hunters Hill Councils.

This is a great opportunity for members of the community to provide feedback on the key issues and concerns for Pedestrians in the Gladesville Town Centre.

Please take a moment to read the attached information, and give feedback using any of the methods available.

Pamp consultation

Presentations to Council: Justin Parry-Okeden and Russell Young on 10 Cowell Street (9 Dec 2013)

Hi Everyone,

Please see below the presentations made last night, to Hunters Hill Council.


Presentation by Justin Parry-Okeden

In 2002 Hunters Hill Council conducted an extensive heritage restoration project on the building known as “10 Cowell St”.

The then General Manager (Barry Smith) and the Councillors at the time (including the now Mayor Richard Quinn) rejected any criticism of the project, and boasted about the success of this undertaking, and indeed held it up as an example of what can be achieved in heritage conservation.

I quote the then General Manager Barry Smith; “The completed building is a tribute to the Council staff and contractors who undertook the work and Council can now justifiably point to its own work as an example of what can be achieved in heritage and conservation building works. Any criticism of our performance in this project is unwarranted and misinformed.”

I must say, that not only I, but other members of the community are both amazed and extremely concerned that a council that has the same General Manager as well as one previous council member who now holds the position of mayor, now chooses to turn their back on the investment made by the rate payers of our community to preserve the cultural heritage for the future generations yet to come.

It would be a true travesty to see the previous dedication and hard work of all the professionals involved in the restoration project simply go to waste due to what can only be perceived as a change in priorities by the current administration.

I implore all Councillors to look inside themselves and reject the assertion that 10 Cowell Street is simply “an UNDERPERFORMING ASSET” – as described by the General Managers sweeping statement of all Cowell Street properties in the council minutes dated 13th May this year. Instead we must acknowledge its true value to the community as an important piece of our cultural heritage.

Presentation by Russell Young

Over the past few months we’ve learned that Council had received recommendations from credible experts to upgrade the Heritage listing of 10 Cowell Street, and exhibited the draft 2012 LEP on that basis, but failed to make the decision to accept or reject the recommendations prior to adoption of the 2012 LEP.

We have learned that the Council contractually committed itself to sell this property to a developer, so that a shopping centre may be extended across the property where the building sits.

Of most concern is the order of these two events, that the Council allowed itself to become contractually bound to sell the property to a developer before deciding whether or not the asset had Heritage value and should be protected – when it had received recommendation from multiple experts, that it deserved protection.

When the topic of council amalgamation was raised in March this year, Mayor Quinn was quoted in the Northern District Times as saying“Because of its historical, heritage value, Hunters Hill should remain independent”. I believe his comments were consistent with the expectation of those who have actively fought to ensure this independence in the past.

As Council goes into recess until the new-year, I ask that the Councillors reflect on whether what we have learned about the Management of Hunters Hill Council in recent years does deliver against that mandate, to protect history and heritage. Should we believe that Hunters Hill Council is in a weaker position or a stronger position to defend against the next call for amalgamation, given the events we’ve come to understand?

It is possible that, in years ahead, this period of time will be looked back upon as being definitive in determining the future of the municipality. The Council’s financial deficits of the last 5 years, and for the 10 years forward from last year’s T-Corp report on sustainability, caused T-Corp to call the Council’s long-term sustainability into question. We pay high rates, and the Council does not break-even.

The $5.6M backlog of infrastructure works to bring assets up to an acceptable standard does not help paint a picture of a Municipality in good shape.

The evolution of the 2010 DCP for the Gladesville Key Site could, at kindest, be described as highly confusing. The DCP was called a “flawed instrument” by the Hunters Hill Trust, and has been shown to be out of touch with community expectations.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to defend Hunters Hill as an independent municipality.

The failure to decide on the Heritage listing of 10 Cowell Street is an act of denying protection to an asset of Heritage value. Given the claim of the legitimacy of Hunters Hill as an independent municipality, based on protection of history and heritage, such a refusal must be well considered and defendable.

To have committed the asset to a legal situation in which it is available for sale at the will of a Developer who will extend the shopping centre across where it stands, without having satisfactorily resolved against expert opinion on the Heritage value of the property, falls short against the Council’s mandate.

I ask that our Councillors reflect on whether they expect the Council to retain the trust and confidence of the community, after what we’ve all learned about the treatment of 10 Cowell Street, and other adjacent issues. I ask that the Councillors consider what implications this will have on the ability to defend the Municipality from amalgamation in the future.

298 submitters, the request for a BETTER DCP, and Media coverage (GSV and Coulter St)

Hi Everyone,
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!

What’s next
 
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.