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Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release May 2005

Councils ousted to make way for high density

Hi SOS Members

Yesterday (23rd May) the press anounced that the State Government is to take away the planning powers of eight councils along Parramatta Road. The councils affected are Marrickville, Leichardt, Ashfield, Burwood, Canada Bay, Strathfield, Auburn and Parramatta. The objective is to impose onto these communities an additional 70,000 new homes along the road.

This is part of the Government's "urban centres" policy, a policy of retrofitting high density centres into Sydney. This follows Professor Peter Newman's theories that such policies will ameliorate traffic congestion. There are a few "small" problems with this approach.

We all know the real reason for the State Government's policies - huge profits for developers and big political donations!

SOS member Councillor Monica Wangmann has issued the following press release:

Although the Parramatta Road Taskforce meetings of 8 mayors, DIPNR and The Hon. Craig Knowles MP, have been held behind closed doors, Ashfield Council has never supported seceding our powers to any corporation.

Council (and therefore the community) should maintain planning control of our section of land along Parramatta Road, as well as all developments anywhere in the municipality (including those in excess of $50 million).

The Minister’s proposed Parramatta Road Corporation and planned take-over of developments in excess of $50M, could fast-track environmentally unsustainable high rise buildings and increase unsupportable densities. The proposed process might ignore the lack of existing open space, neglect amenity considerations for existing and future residents and disregard ageing and insufficient infrastructure, overshadowing, overlooking, traffic impacts, noise and air pollution, environmental and heritage considerations. The corporation might sideline community participation, through well-crafted spin doctoring.

Unlike elected Local Government Councillors, corporations are not directly answerable to the electorate. The proposed corporation could recommend additional infrastructure and then defer it, after higher densities are approved. Any additional infrastructure proposed, may not address existing shortages nor cater for all the future infrastructure needs.

Ashfield Council is 17 YEARS ahead of our agreed housing targets. Ashfield North (next to Parramatta Road) has a population density of 14,100 people per square kilometer. Ashfield municipality has the lowest proportion of open space per person in NSW (1.06 hectares per 1,000 people). We have done our bit for Urban Consolidation.

I ask Minister Knowles and his government to support the rights of local government and communities, especially Councils such as Ashfield, which has worked to increase densities substantially. As the layer of government closest to the people, Council is aware of local considerations and should continue to represent our communities.

Any increased densities for commercial or residential development along Parramatta Road must be environmentally unsustainable and take into account the impacts of the M4 East tollway proposal (which is on holiday until after April 2007).

Yours sincerely

Ashfield Independent Councillor Monica Wangmann

38 Albert Parade Ashfield NSW 2131 9797 6543 0418 992 766

Chair of Council’s Environmental Committee and Local Traffic Committee,

Councils representaive on IMROC and Sydney Harbour Councils


And now some good news. For some 7 years residents of Woollarha have been fighting moves to convert most of the White City tennis court area into serviced apartments and 180 residential units. The open space remaining in Woollarha is very precious to the community who fought the high-density proposal tenatiously.

It appears the fight has been successful. It is reported that a consortium including Sydney Grammar plan to purchase the tennis courts which will result in their continued use for tennis.


Tony Recsei

President, Save Our Suburbs

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