UrbanGrowth reportedly wants to add 51,600 apartments along Parramatta Road. Photo: Tamara Dean
Homes for about 100,000 extra residents will be built along Parramatta Road in the next few decades, according to an ambitious plan being developed by the state government’s property development arm.
The plans would include thousands of extra apartments around suburbs such as Taverners Hill, Camperdown and Leichhardt in Sydney’s inner west, but the bulk of the dwellings would be on the western end of Parramatta Road, around Homebush, Granville and Auburn.
The developer, UrbanGrowth NSW, has repeatedly delayed releasing its plans for Parramatta Road.
But according to sources briefed on its thinking, the government property agency wants to add 51,600 apartments along Parramatta Road to coincide with the WestConnex underground motorway, to be built underneath the notoriously congested corridor.
The draft strategy for the corridor, according to sources, includes an extra 17,000 apartments around Homebush and Sydney Olympic Park. Separate documents show the government is considering a “new CBD for the Corridor” in this area.
Another 13,000 apartments would be built near Granville; about 5000 near Burwood; and about 5000 at Taverners Hill near Petersham and Leichhardt.
UrbanGrowth NSW would not confirm the figures. The developer responded through a public relations consultant, Wise McBaron Communication, that it would not discuss the specifics of the draft strategy until it was released.
“The draft strategy will be a starting point for discussion with the community and will be made public after the release of the Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney,” consultant Trudy Wise said in an email.
The plans are certain to be controversial, with some residents and politicians already concerned about public transport and traffic congestion in the area and the impact on local amenity.
Separate documents tabled in state Parliament show that buses on Parramatta Road are already full during peak periods, and in the afternoon run on average about 10 minutes late.
“This travel time variability impacts on connections with other transport modes and reduces the attractiveness of bus, and public transport, as a travel mode,” said documents tabled in response to a call for papers on WestConnex.
Those documents also describe Homebush as representing an opportunity for a “new CBD”, Taverners Hill as a place for a new “creative industry hub to emerge”, and Auburn to become a “new mixed-use, live-work precinct”.
But it remains unclear how the government will stimulate its development plans. It also remains unclear how far from Parramatta Road UrbanGrowth NSW wants to promote high-rise and medium-density developments.
Of the 10 councils along the corridor, all but Leichhardt have resolved to or signed memoranda of understanding to work with the state government on its strategy for the corridor.
Burwood mayor John Faker said Planning Minister Pru Goward had been “pretty reasonable” about requests to trade off development near Parramatta Road for lower development in other areas.
“I’m open-minded to work with the minister because … at the last meeting she advised [she] will listen to our concerns,” Cr Faker said.
Asked about the potential for thousands of new apartments around Leichhardt and Taverners Hill, Leichhardt mayor Rochelle Porteous said her council was “the fourth most densely populated area in Australia and 70 per cent of our municipality is heritage conservation zones”.
“It is important that we preserve the character and livability of our local area – those kind of numbers are unsustainable and would have unacceptable impacts on the local residents and businesses,” Cr Porteous said.
UrbanGrowth NSW has invited mayors along the corridor to an urgent meeting on Thursday afternoon.
The Metropolitan Strategy, the government’s blueprint for managing population growth over the next 20 years, is expected to be released soon, after being delayed for about a year.
UrbanGrowth NSW had previously said it would release its plan for Parramatta Road for a three-month consultation period at the end of 2014. Detailed plans for the WestConnex tunnels underneath Parramatta Road have also been delayed and will not be released until next year.
A spokesman for Ms Goward said: “Renewing the Parramatta Road corridor is being made possible because we’re building the country’s largest road project to lift congestion on Parramatta Road.
“We have always said Sydney needs a mix of housing – new homes on greenfield sites and urban consolidation.
“When the vision for the strategy is complete, government will consider the most appropriate planning processes to bring the vision to life. In any scenario, communities and their local councils will play a key role,” the spokesman said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.