242-244 Beecroft Road: State Significant Project
UPDATE - JULY 2020: This proposal has been approved by the Department of Planning. The decision totally ignores the views of Council and residents. The approval will now allow Landcom to sell the site to a developer who will push through on the planning proposal as approved.
UPDATE: Landcom have submitted a DA to City of Parramatta to demolish the remaining office block on the site and clear other structures, and also remove 28 trees. This DA re-empts a decision on the State Significant Project which is not good.
This plot of land, which was the construction depot for the North West metro project, has now become available for development by its owner, which is the State Government via Landcom, a State Government instrumentality.
Landcom have prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for their proposed development which has been designated as a State Significant development and which is now on public exhibition. This is the ONLY chance for the public to raise objections to the fundamentals of what will happen with this site. If it is passed, Landcom will then move to sell the site, with this approval, to a developer and the opportunity to have a better outcome for Epping will be gone.
The proposal can be found by going to www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/project/11716 where you will find a description of their concept plan. We have links to key documents you can download at the bottom of this story.
Landcom are proposing to fill the land with residential apartment buildings with three towers of approximately 15 storeys each. The towers will be joined by two podium structures, approximately six storeys in height There will be approximately 442 homes of which 5% will be “affordable”. There will be parking for 356 cars. A pedestrian link will be provided between Beecroft Rd and Ray Rd.
Why this proposal fails Epping
The Trust is unhappy about several aspects of this proposal. As this is a key site, the Epping Civic Trust would like to see a development with the following guiding principles:
- That maximising residential density is NOT the key determinate for this site
- That there is a substantial amount of retail and commercial development as well as residential development
- That there is a generous area of public open space appropriately landscaped and furnished.
- That there is a target of 15-20% affordable housing delivered through an NGO agency
- That clear proposals for infrastructure and public amenity improvements around Epping are developed before any commitment is given to this project including possible through site road links as identified by Council
- That there is a commitment to a full public review of all major developments proposed for the western side of the railway line before any more are started.
However, that is not the proposal that is now on exhibition. The Trust will be opposing it because it fails the principles above and because we have specific concerns with the plans as documented:
- Recent residential development in terms of the number of dwellings is already well in excess of what the State Government originally proposed for the Epping precinct. Developments of this nature and size near the Urban Activation Precinct should be put on hold until necessary infrastructure and community facilities have caught up with population growth. This proposal plays down this growth by using figures from 2011 rather than the more recent population estimates in the council’s Epping Planning Review of 2016. This is very misleading.
- Epping needs commercial development in parallel with residential development. This proposal allows for approximately 1.5% of the floor space for commercial uses, which is effectively none. This continues the deliberate and short-sighted approach of recent Epping developments which have seen more than 10,000 jobs leave Epping and will leave the suburb effectively a dormitory with little retail activation during the day.
- The proposal includes a minimum of 5% affordable housing. In fact, that is a measly 22 units. There has been no affordable housing anywhere else in Epping during this redevelopment. This government-owned land has the chance to address this by undertaking a substantive housing project with an appropriate NGO agency
- This development will preclude the use of any of this land to ameliorate traffic on the Carlingford Rd/Beecroft Rd intersection, which an east-west link traffic link through the site may have provided. This link was a key element of the council’s Epping Traffic Study.
- The site is isolated from the Town Centre by busy Carlingford Rd and one of the worst bottleneck junctions in Sydney. How are the 1200 or more residents of these towers to gain access to the Metro Station? If these 1200 people have to use pedestrian crossing on Carlingford Rd, what effect will this have on the delays in excess of one hour at peak periods that are forecast by the Epping Traffic Study for the Beecroft Rd, Carlingford Rd intersection?
- The EIS indicates that other massive developments on the western side of the railway line are currently under consideration. These include a 40-storey development at 59-79 Beecroft Rd (700 dwellings) and a 45-storey development at 49 and 53-61 Rawson St (1194 dwellings). Unfortunately, as usual each of these developments is being considered in isolation from the others but in fact they all affect traffic, infrastructure and community facilities cumulatively. We urgently need a precinct plan which looks at all proposed developments as a whole to work out what Epping will look like in the future.
- The only Community open space provided with this development is effectively a small area around the through site pedestrian link between Cliff Rd and Beecroft Rd.
- The consent and approvals bodies for each stage of this development are not clearly defined in the EIS. As a State Significant Development, this falls under the Minister for Planning for approval. However, that means this site is not being seen properly in conjunction with other developments, or within the greater context of the challenges facing the Epping Town Centre which the City of Parramatta council are having to deal with. The Trust would like to see Council front and centre of these approval processes, since we can at least talk to Council people; it is in our experience that it is almost impossible to talk to a State Government officer who has the capacity to make changes to a project.
The Trust urges people to lodge a submission opposing this proposal in its entirety – see box for information on how to do this. Deadline is 4 September 2019.
EIS - https://eppingcivictrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/242-244-Beecroft-Rd_Environmental-Impact-Statement_SSD-8784_Epping_SSD-8784.pdf
Design strategy: https://eppingcivictrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/242-244-Beecroft-Rd_Appendix-F.-Design-Excellence-Strategy-Report-July-2019.pdf