‘Completely transform skyline’: Parramatta plan approved after nine years

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‘Completely transform skyline’: Parramatta plan approved after nine years


The Parramatta CBD will be expanded but North Parramatta will be excluded, as will a block of land along the river.Credit:NSW government

Davis, the Labor lord mayor, said the approved plan still more than quadrupled the area where the tallest towers could be built, which would allow the council to “completely transform the city skyline”.

Parramatta CBD would gain more than 1.5 million square metres of new commercial floor space, Davis said, helping position it as a genuine rival to Sydney’s main central business district 24 kilometres to the east.

The state government decided to maintain current planning controls near Church Street, the main spine through Parramatta’s CBD, due to heritage and urban design concerns. Building heights were also reduced on various CBD blocks to reduce overshadowing.

The government also excluded a parcel of land on the south side of the Parramatta River between the water and Phillip Street due to concerns about heritage, open space, solar access and amenity.

The changes mean the council’s original concept designs – included in this article as a guide – will likely need to be revised.

A NSW Planning Department spokeswoman said a 10:1 floor space ratio generally provided better balance between development objectives and public amenity, overshadowing and heritage.

She said the excluded areas in North Parramatta and along the foreshore had significant historic value and amenity. The department would work with council and stakeholders on the next steps.

Executive director of Business Western Sydney David Borger said it was good to have certainty after nine years of debate. But he called on the government to set planning controls for North Parramatta urgently, with the light rail due to open next year.

“Deferring North Parramatta is fine as long as we’ve got a time frame for resolving that,” he said. “Parramatta has outgrown its clothes, it’s bursting at the seams. It’s time to think about extending the CBD boundaries.”

Davis warned that without sufficient financial contributions from developers, the council could not fund the infrastructure required to keep pace with the CBD’s growth, such as lighting, streetscapes and quality public spaces. She called on the government to adopt the council’s CBD Infrastructure Contributions Plan.

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“[They] go hand-in-hand,” she said. “To reach the state government’s housing and jobs targets we must have that contributions plan adopted and endorsed by the minister.”

Urbis director Murray Donaldson, whose company worked with Parramatta Council on parts of the original plan, was critical of the government’s changes, asserting they would undermine investment.

“They’ve spent the last eight years working on a plan … and now at the 11th hour they’ve decided not to agree with some of the fundamental controls the council wanted,” he said. “There won’t be the level of economic development, the level of job creation … to support Parramatta as Sydney’s second CBD.”

The Property Council welcomed the new planning controls, especially the bonus floor space for buildings which are better designed and more sustainable.

Western Sydney regional director Ross Groves said: “The new incentives recognise higher quality buildings come at a significant cost to industry.”

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