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Gazette Article

Outrage at Nine’s 18-storey plan

As the Artarmon Gazette went to press, there was community outrage at the final concept plan Nine Network Australia has submitted to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure for the 2.9ha Channel Nine site in Artarmon Rd, proposing buildings up to 18 storeys.

The proposed height is two storeys higher than any of the concept plans Nine presented at its public consultation meetings  last November, which has sparked widespread community concern.

Bob Taffel of Willoughby South Progress Association (WSPA) has started an online petition at against Nine’s proposed building height and the lack of community consultation in a bid to get at least 5,000 signatures to show widespread concern against the development.

Although Nine proposes less dwellings at 585, the building is higher than any of the concept plans presented to the public (see November Gazette, p1).

Anticipating Nine’s environmental assessment in late November, planning department Director-General Sam Haddad said in a statement the submission was likely to be examined by independent experts on its Planning Assessment Committee which might hold another public meeting.

“This is one of Sydney’s biggest urban renewal sites with a capital investment value of more than $200m and we need to get it right,” Haddad said.

“There has been widespread community input into the plans to date and the department will need to make sure the issues raised have been comprehensively responded to and addressed.” 

Last month, council and WSPA representatives met with Haddad to discuss concerns about Nine’s concept plan and the lack of community consultaton.

Taffel said in view of Nine's lack of response to community requests, any reduction in scale would have to come through the influence of the planning department. 

He said council and WSPA had aired their concerns regarding the proposed building height and development density, and their effect on local amenities and infrastructure, known to the DG and his advisors.

Willoughby Mayor Pat Reilly has been scathing about Nine’s lack of community consultation and information flow to the public.

He cited over-development and density concerns as the main issues council and the community had repeatedly raised without any clear response from Nine on its intentions.

He said council and the community had been left in the dark on the final site options presented to the planning department. Issues such as building heights and local impact on traffic and infrasructure remained unchanged.

“It beggars belief that with the current school overcrowding crisis, particular (to) this area, that the community is expected to take on another 650 placements without any provisions for them,” Reilly said. “Community consultation is a two-way process – not glossy brochures or a lecture.”

by Eva Wiland, Gazette editor

Courtesy of Gazette February 2013
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