GLADESVILLE residents have less than a fortnight to have their say on a proposed new, local shopping precinct.
Last Tuesday night’s meeting at the Hunters Hill Town Hall heard Hunters Hill Mayor Mark Bennett and senior council staff stress that an exhibition of planning controls for the site closes on March 20 with Planning Minister Anthony Roberts due to determine what can and cannot be built there by the end of July.
“This is the most significant development in Hunters Hill in the last five years,” Mayor Bennett said.
“What we are looking to do is to improve the area and we need your feedback.”
Hunters Hill Council’s Senior Strategic Planner Philippa Hayes urged residents to make written submissions at the exhibition, which is on display at the Town Hall from 9am to 5pm weekdays.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your submission in,” Ms Hayes said.
“We are coming to the end of a long process and the next couple of months will be critical.”
This process has seen the Council twice reject applications from applicant GSV Developments over traffic and other concerns which prompted the applicant to appeal and seek Gateway approval from the state government with
additional height and floor space sought for a residential/commercial development.
“The Gateway made achieving height and floor space conditional on design excellence,” Ms Hayes said.
“A new draft regulation applying to the keysite is that open space is to be a minimum of 600 square metres to be adjacent to Cowell Street.
“This location must ensure the landscaped open space is highly visable, enhances the existing pedestrian network and has a level connection to the Cowell Street footpath.
“The second open recreation space is to have a minimum area of 2,700 square meters which is 25 per cent of the key site area.”
A further issue being canvassed during the exhibition is to retain or relocate the heritage cottage at 10 Cowell Street.
Save Hunters Hill Municipality spokesman Phil Jenkyn described the Gateway outcome as a con.
“Not only is it a con, people need to be aware it is a con and that no one thinks it is an excellent design but the government will think is excellent,” he said.
“What we are being sold is an extra height, now 14 to 16 storeys on a claim of design excellence and they’re going to run along to the government pretending they have support for this so called design excellence.”
Mr Jenkyn was applauded by many of the 200 and more residents at the meeting who expressed significant concern about traffic.
“The traffic figures we are being asked to believe are fraudulent,” one resident said at the meeting.
“If this development goes ahead than Pittwater Road will become another Victoria Road .. the traffic congestion around Cowell Street, Flagstaff Street and Massey Street will be even worse than it is now.”
No one at the meeting spoke in favour of having a new shopping centre in Gladesville although Hunters Hill Liberal Clr Zac Miles spoke of the need to get the best possible design to get the best possible outcome.
A common complaint at the meeting was that Gladesville is being developed “too fast, too heavily” particularly on the Ryde Council run side of Victoria Road.
“We are hearing a lot of people in Ryde are unhappy about the amount of development going on,” Ms Hayes conceded.
There were concerns the applicant/developer did not attend the meeting to put any benefits of the Gateway option as well as concerns about the impact of construction works on Flagstaff, Cowell and Massey streets.
There was also concern about relocating the 10 Cowell Street Cottage to Valentia Street Reserve, Gladesville Reserve or to Heydon Park.
“What we are being asked to accept is moving the cottage from where it is to create open space, to a park where there is already open space and where the will be less open space once the cottage goes there,” one resident told the meeting.