Motions passed at the August meeting

The August meeting passed the following motions:

  1. THAT this meeting rejects as unsuitable and unsustainable the scheme currently proposed by Development Application D/2015/966 for development of 1,600 apartments in the Ashmore Precinct.
  1. THAT this meeting calls on the members of the Central Sydney Planning Committee, and particularly City of Sydney Councillors that sit on that committee, to vote against Development Application D/2015/966 for the development of 1,600 apartments in the Ashmore Precinct.
  1. THAT this meeting rejects as wholly inadequate the current planning and delivery of essential social and urban infrastructure in Erskineville and Alexandria to cope with any further development in the Ashmore Precinct including:
  • That the traffic modelling for the Ashmore Estate must consider the broad traffic flows across, around and through Alexandria and Erskineville and includes the impact of the WestCONnex M5 extension plan
  • The provision of rail and bus services
  • The provision of least 15% affordable housing including the provision of housing for older residents
  • The provision of child care services and school places for junior and high school students
  • The preservation of established public green spaces
  1. THAT this meeting calls on the members of the Central Sydney Planning Committee and the City of Sydney to reject all further development applications in the Ashmore Precinct until extensive action has been taken by Local and State Governments to address the essential social and urban infrastructure needs identified in the Ashmore Precinct Infrastructure Plan, by providing a timeline for delivery and a commitment to funding and commencing works.
  1. THAT this meeting calls on Local and State Governments to work together co-operatively to urgently address the following:
  • The neglect of local public transport services which have led to the crushing overcrowding on local train services, which are amongst the most overloaded on the entire railway network, and the truncation of local bus services without consultation and to the detriment of the local community.
  • The existing and impending consequences of population increases and demography changes in Alexandria and Erskineville that now require hundreds of additional primary and secondary school spaces and childcare places.
  • The absence of any credible forecast or analysis of the effect Stage 2 of the Westconnex Project (M5 Extension) will have on local traffic in Alexandria and Erskineville and the additional effect of approving any further development applications in the Ashmore Precinct.
  • The inadequate provision of stormwater drainage in the Ashmore Precinct, which leaves the Ashmore Precinct prone to flooding and precludes street level building access and activation.

Lord Mayor Vows to Put Off Ashmore Development

13 August 2015, 12:00pm AEST

SYDNEY – At a public meeting held in Alexandria last night, Lord Mayor Clover Moore undertook to put off a large-scale development at the Ashmore Estate in Erskineville until the State Government committed to essential infrastructure improvements.

Speaking to a crowd of around 100 local residents, Cr Moore said that while she could not make any promises that the development would not be approved, she would do what she could to ensure local services were improved before planners signed off on 1,600 new apartments.

The Central Sydney Planning Committee (CSPC), which is made up of three City of Sydney Councillors and four people appointed by the Minister for Planning and is chaired by the Lord Mayor, will vote on the application made by Hong Kong-based property developer, Golden Horse, after submissions close on 31 August 2015.

Speaking after the meeting, which was co-hosted by the Alexandria Residents Action Group and the Friends of Erskineville, President of the Friends of Erskineville, Darren Jenkins, said:

“The Lord Mayor’s undertaking is exactly what we have been pushing for. It is very welcome.

For too long there has been buck-passing between Local and State Governments about getting things right before these mega-developments happen.

Planning shouldn’t be about constantly playing catch-up.

I think the Lord Mayor has now agreed that enough is enough and it’s time for the State Government to get its act into gear, otherwise Clover Moore and her team will vote against more development at Ashmore.”

Vanessa Knight, Co-Convenor of the Alexandria Residents Action Group was equally optimistic about the outcome from the meeting:

“I think the Lord Mayor came to the meeting and gave the undertaking she did because she recognises the Golden Horse development will have an enormous impact on the local area.

The apartments going up in Ashmore will double the population, yet all recent infrastructure announcements – like Westconnex and the Sydney Metro – will reduce amenity in this area, not improve it. We are not against development, but will fight to ensure that we have the transport services we badly need now and the other infrastructure such as childcare and school places.”

The Golden Horse Development Application presently before the Central Sydney Planning Committee (D/2015/966) proposes up to 1600 apartments and 3000 residents. It is the single largest residential development application ever in Erskineville or Alexandria and will build more dwellings than the entire Harold Park Development (1,250 residences).

Last night’s meeting was the latest step in a long-running community campaign for the best possible outcomes from the Ashmore Precinct Development. The development as planned does not address long-standing flooding issues, most recently highlighted during the downpours in April which saw cars carried by the torrent down Coulson Street, would see the loss of 40 established and mature trees, including an iconic stand of fig trees nearby Erskineville Oval, and the increasing shortage of school places, with over 350 school-aged child expected to live within the development yet Erskineville Public School is now full.

Vanessa Knight

Co-Convenor, Alexandria Residents Action Group

Darren Jenkins

President, Friends of Erskineville

Planning controls for the Ashmore Precinct

The Central Sydney Planning Committee on Thursday 9 May 2013 will consider the report on the revised planning controls for the Ashmore Precinct. This report recommends that the draft planning controls are put on public exhibition.

A copy of the report and associated attachments are now available for viewing on Council’s website at the below link. The Ashmore report is Item 7 on the agenda.

If you wish to speak at the meeting, you must register with Council’s Secretariat Unit by phoning (02) 9265 9190 no later than 12 noon on Thursday 9 May 2013.

Irene Doutney: I find myself in opposition to the LEP

The following notes are from Greens Councillor Irene Doutney’s response to the LEP (Local Environment Plan) as given to the Council meeting of Monday 12/3/2012

This is what an FSR of 1.3:1 looks like.

Before I make my comments I would like to acknowledge all the work that has been done by staff and councillors to get the City Plan to where it is today. I also attended some of the City Plan meetings and it is with regret that I find myself in opposition to the LEP as it comes before us tonight.

I have grave concerns about parts of the LEP, in particular those to do with our heritage and conservation villages. I believe that the number of large developments including Harold Park, the Ashmore Estate, Green Square, the City and the renewal of Redfern and Waterloo should absorb the mass of development and meet the Metropolitan Strategy target numbers without having to upzone the villages that surround them.

We need to protect our villages as they are the soul of the City and with a balanced approach we can let new development happen in these renewal sites while protecting the conservation and residential villages.

I note that at last week’s Committee meeting the majority of submitters from the Resident Action Groups had their concerns diminished while the developer submissions were all given extra attention with 13 sites now being considered for future amendment. Not so for the villages however.

There has been significant media attention over the gross overdevelopment of the Ashmore estate, where the City’s plans for an already large development were ordered to become even larger by the Labor govt, who’d received thousands of dollars in donations from the site’s owners.

It is politically cowardly to have this section of the plan deferred to a point in the future that will almost certainly be after the next Council elections. The City should submit the plan with its proposed controls for sign off by the Minister along with the rest of the LEP.

This would allow the City to own its plans and have the people decide on them democratically, as well as forcing the Liberal government to show their hand – will they stand up for residents or follow the developer friendly line of Labor?

The controls for Ashmore Estate currently advocated by the City are around double what was permitted under the 2006 Ashmore DCP and if these were the only up-zonings adopted in the area we would still be asking Erskineville and surrounds to bear a significant burden.

However while Ashmore Estate gets the attention it is not the only part of Erskineville that is destined for overdevelopment under this plan.

The vast majority of the suburb, as well as surrounding areas of Newtown and Alexandria, looks set for major increases in density.

Under the South Sydney DCP almost the entirety of Erskineville had a maximum allowed floor space ratio of 1:1. It is noted that these controls have been routinely exceeded and it is for this reason that we are told that the permissible FSR should be increased.

Changing planning controls to meet these past exceedances is not a visionary way forward.

Higher FSR developments got through because developers were allowed to “slightly” exceed the controls. There’s no reason to think the new controls won’t also be exceeded – plans 10% in excess of controls are routinely allowed under SEPP 1. This means that for areas where FSR is increased to 1.25:1 we will see numerous developments pop up with an FSR of 1.37:1. When we next come to review the LEP, will we then up the allowed FSR to 1.37:1 to accommodate these?

You can see how this is a very poor precedent to set, and 1.25:1 is the lower end of new FSRs under the plan. The situation will be patently much worse in the areas where FSRs will jump from 1:1 to 2:1.

It’s also worth noting that the new LEP will be using a new definition of FSR, where internal wall cavities and communal stairways no longer count towards total floor area, meaning developers will be able to get between 5-17% more floorspace into their developments, depending on total size, even without an official increase in FSR.

Having made these points about trying to change development controls to match existing development I would also like to draw attention to the fact that the area is not uniformly high density as various reports imply.

The 2009 Urban Design Study into the area, used to justify the bulk of the density increases, has a map of existing conditions in the area which shows it to be anything but uniformly high density. Large areas of the suburb are predominantly less dense than the planning controls allow, calling into question the need to boost the density, when the residents are opposed to upscaling their village.

Examples include:

  • Newman St between Whitehorse and Angel Streets – only two out of 27 blocks are currently over 1.1:1 and none of these are over 1.25:1, yet all but one block is to be up-zoned to 1.25:1.
  • Block between Burren and Charles Streets – only 7 blocks are currently over 1.1:1, yet 86 out of 87 blocks are to be zoned 1.25:1 with the remaining block becoming 1.75:1.
  • Union St on both sides, between Erskineville Rd and Munni St – only 24 of 91 blocks are currently over 1.1:1 and none are over 1.25:1, yet 65 blocks are to be rezoned 1.25:1.

I would also like to briefly mention the residents of Chippendale who are concerned about the loss of Clause 37 which gave them some protection against certain types of development and I call on Council to put some heart into the LEP where people’s homes and futures are at stake.

Ashmore Estate Submission

ARAG endorses the following resolutions that were passed at the Friends of Erskineville public meeting on 22 February 2012:

RESOLUTION 1 Residents do not accept the flawed proposed 2011 Draft Control Plan for the Ashmore Estate Development, (presently open to submission and comment), and which nominates building heights of up to 9 storeys and FSR’s up to 2:1, and which has been produced without any serious regard to the traffic and transport needs of the Erskineville/Alexandria area or the urban design quality and servicing of the proposed new residential development.

RESOLUTION 2      Residents acknowledge and accept that the gazetted 2006 Development Control Plan (DCP) for the Ashmore Estate Development which provides for buildings of up to 5 storeys with a site density of 1:1 (western sector) and 1.25:1 is the preferred plan at present for the development of the Ashmore Estate.

RESOLUTION 3       Residents request that Council do not consider any changes to the 2006 DCP until a full simulated Traffic and co-ordinated Transport study has been undertaken to assess the impacts that such an enormous increase in the population will have on local infrastructure and the community. The required Traffic and co-ordinated Transport study must be specific to the Ashmore Estate development and include a full analysis of the present overcrowded and inadequate public transport infrastructure and a detailed plan of amendment to that infrastructure to allow for the proposed increase in population envisaged under the 2006 DCP

RESOLUTION 4       Residents request that Sydney Water upgrade the inadequate piped drainage system in the Munni Street catchment area to properly address flooding and allow ground level access across the precinct. Residents note that such an upgrade is in line with Sydney Water policy to provide a system capable of managing a 20 year flood event

RESOLUTION 5      Residents request that an urban design study be undertaken specifically for the site and its surrounds by seeking the services of the city’s Urban Design Consultant, Jahn Gehl, in order to promote an alternative, sustainable and socially responsible design for the new Ashmore residential village, destined to become one of the “Sustainable Sydney 2030” centres in the Council’s City of Villages initiative

RESOLUTION 6       As the proposed residential development of the Ashmore Estate will result in the loss of an important employment generating centre, residents request an analysis of the social, economic and environmental impacts on the capacity of the existing physical and social community infrastructure and jobs market is undertaken to support the very large number of additional residents

RESOLUTION 7       Residents request that a working group composed of State government and City of Sydney delegates, as well as resident delegates, be formed and be known as the Ashmore Committee, and that this Committee have an overall advisory role in the development of the Ashmore Estate and any change to the gazetted 2006 DCP

In addition, we wish to raise some matters which relate specifically to Alexandria residents. Alexandria is now facing a future of being wedged between the ATP and the Ashmore estate, which are at either ends of the already congested Mitchell Road. The ATP development is only half complete, and as the City of Sydney knows, has already caused significant pressures on residential streets in Alexandria.

The DCP does not take into consideration the parking, traffic, public transport and social infrastructure pressures that an additional 6,000+ residents will place on the Mitchell Rd corridor. Nor does it take into consideration the ATP developments that are occurring at the north end of Mitchell Rd, the new Bunnings store, or other nearby developments.

ARAG is not against development, but it is against poorly planned development. We would therefore urge the Council to delay any decision on the DCP until a full traffic management plan for Alexandria and Erskineville is completed.

We note with concern that the City of Sydney Council has not paid due consideration to the provision of infrastructure to support what amounts to a doubling of the population of this area: public transport, stormwater drains and public schools.

We realise that these issues fall under the jurisdiction of the State Government, but we would expect Council to be a strong force advocating for better services on our behalf.

We also note that the City of Sydney Council has not paid due consideration to issues that do fall under the jurisdiction of the Council: provision of child care and parking to support the increased population of this area.

Instead, if the DCP is implemented, it will considerably worsen what is currently unmet demand for childcare places and on-street parking. We would expect Council to put the interests of existing and future residents foremost in these matters.

We do not accept that the dominant factor in car ownership is owning a parking space. The current situation in Alexandria is already proof that this is not so. The dominant factor in whether people own a car is whether they need cars. In Alexandria, both trains and buses are already inadequate. Given the current low levels of services, and given that the majority of residents of Alexandria do not work in Alexandria, many residents need to own cars.

Adding additional residents – many of whom will be commuters – while removing a local source of jobs will only make this situation more dire.

The unfairness of the proposal becomes even more stark when comparing Ashmore with Harold Park. Harold Park is over 10.5 hectares of which nearly 4 will be dedicated to open space (35% of the site) while the Ashmore proposal provides less than 5% open space – in an area with an already low space per capita.

Harold Park provides a further 1000sqm for affordable housing, with 1250 new homes being created. The developable area of Ashmore is approximately 14 hectares yet 3200 new residences are proposed – 2000 more than Harold Park.

The City’s website clearly shows the planning process for Harold Park, with technical studies and planning principles evident. There is no similar planning rationale for Ashmore – it has increased density without the necessary technical studies to show how this will be done.

We would urge Councillors to be consistent in aligning their actions with their vision for a ‘City of Villages’. Over-development that is not in character with the existing atmosphere of this area will destroy our villages, not enhance them.

Ashmore Development Public Meeting

Public Meeting:
22 February at 7.30pm
Erskineville Town Hall
104 Erskineville Road

The Ashmore industrial area is being developed.

Council proposes high density high-rise of up to 9 stories comprising
over 3000 apartments housing over 6000 people with only 1950 parking spaces.

This plan should concern all of us in Erskineville and beyond so please don’t be complacent because you live in a different part of the area. Trains, buses, traffic, parking and quality of life will all be affected.

Submissions on development close 29 February 2012

Learn more on proposed plan and how to make a submission at the public meeting and the Friends of Erskineville website: or contact P.O. Box 427, Erskineville 2043, or email