Back to the drawing board

The City of Sydney has raised significant concerns about the density and amenity being planned for the Waterloo public housing redevelopment by UrbanGrowth NSW. Council agues below it is greater than anything seen in Australia and it has provided figures to back its concerns.

There are no similar-sized areas of this density in London or Singapore, and only a few in Manhattan and Paris. It is similar to some areas in Hong Kong.

What does this mean for our neighbourhoods?

In other areas of this size and density we know that:

  • New apartments do not get enough sunlight
  • Surrounding homes are overshadowed
  • Local parks are heavily overshadowed
  • There is more pressure on existing parks and community services
  • There is a lot more traffic congestion
  • Existing street trees need to be replaced

What has UrbanGrowth NSW told us about Waterloo?

  • 7,000 new apartments on the 19ha site, including replacing the 2,000 social units and providing more affordable housing
  • New train station
  • New development in the surrounding areas to help pay for the new station

What makes a good community?

There is a similar number of dwellings in Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay. But a community is not just houses:

  • These suburbs have 4 large parks, tennis courts and an oval
  • There is a library and three community buildings
  • There are 3 local primary schools nearby
  • There are also aged care and child care facilities
  • This community is served by three supermarkets, local shops, doctors and dentists and local offices

Together, this makes a lively community and a good place to live.

How does the City plan new communities?

We involve the community in our planning for new areas.

The City has been planning Green Square for more than 15 years. We’re creating a community for more than 50,000 new residents and 20,000 new workers. Our planning at Green Square means there will be:

  • Lots of new parks
  • A new library and community cultural centre
  • A new indoor swimming pool
  • Supermarkets, shops, room for local doctors, dentists and other services
  • New childcare facilities

If UrbanGrowth NSW squeeze 7,000 apartments on the Waterloo Estate, there will be no room for the things needed to make a good place for a new community.

The NSW government want to take planning control for Waterloo and Central to Eveleigh away from Council and the local community.

The City of Sydney is best-placed to do the planning for Waterloo and Central to Eveleigh. We will involve the community and we will be open and transparent.

To find out more go to:

Density comparisons provided by Council

.                                                                           Hectares              dwellings             dwellings             people

.                                                                                                                                    per hectare        per hectare

Large precincts over 10 ha 

Waterloo Estate (proposed)                           19                           7,000                     368                         700

Elephant Park (London)                                 11.4                        2,988                     262                         497

Green Square Town Centre                           17                           4,000                     235                         446

Battersea Power Station (London)               16                           3,444                     214                         406

Former ACI site                                                13                           2,473                     190                         360

Victoria Park                                                     24                           3,124                     130                         247

Small precincts under 10 ha

Central Park Broadway                                  6.9                          2,229                     323                         613

Discovery Point                                                6.1                          1,600                     262                         497

Darling Quarter                                                4.6                          1,363                     296                         562

Our Say

The above summary was produced and circulated by Council following a community presentation in June 2016 – see Presentation by Mr Graham Jahn AM Director of City Planning, Development and Transport, City of Sydney – Packed in bad planning vs smart growth (File is 22.6 MB PDF). The table above was presented at that meeting in response to initial criticism from UrbanGrowth. Council encouraged residents to send Back to the drawing board postcards to the Minister of Planning about the issue.

While the NSW Government removed control of the redevelopment from Council, the area was limited to the Metro station and the consolidated public housing estate. Council however participated in the setting of the redevelopment study requirements and included many Council policies. Council also has a monitoring role on the Project Review Panel.

This article was updated in mid-2017 for the Winter 2017 special ISV on Redeveloping Waterloo Public Housing.

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