Leichhardt councillors have flagged their suspicion of the state Government’s plan to redevelop Parramatta Rd.
There is growing concern among residents the urban renewal project will see high-density development cut through Leichhardt and Annandale.
The Parramatta Rd Urban Renewal Programme, by the state Government city planning body Urban Growth NSW, would involve a transformation of the 20km corridor between the city and Parramatta and potentially Leichhardt and Annandale land on either side.
Councillors voted to defer signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the state Government when the council met on May 27, arguing it was not clear what the implications would be.
“I’m not going to agree to sign an MOU which is going to have negative impacts on my community,” Greens Cr Rochelle Porteous said.
“The purpose is basically to see higher density development in large tracts of Leichhardt and Annandale . . . What the community wants to see is more open space, more community facilities and not greater density.’’
The council will request further information about the memorandum and the draft urban renewal concept plan before it votes on the issue at its next meeting, following a successful motion by Labor Crs Simon Emsley and Linda Kelly, with the support of Greens and Liberal councillors.
The purpose of the draft memorandum is to establish the “working arrangements” between the state Government and the councils along the corridor and to agree to a “governance model that involves state government partnering with local government” in the long-term planning process.
Leichhardt Residents’ Precinct Committee chairwoman Teena Clerke said the council made the right choice in deferring to sign the memorandum and is opposed to any redevelopment along Parramatta Rd.
“What Urban Growth NSW are intent on doing is bringing high-rise development into our community and our homes.”
Dr Clerke said she is concerned higher-density apartment developments would bring more cars into Leichhardt’s narrow streets, especially as the WestConnex freeway, a close companion to the urban renewal project, brings more vehicle traffic through the area.
A spokesperson for Urban Growth NSW said the WestConnex Delivery Authority is delivering a motorway which provides the catalyst for the Parramatta Rd Urban Renewal Program,.
“The Parramatta Rd corridor will experience significant population growth over the coming years and decades. The need to provide new housing and jobs is critical.”
However, unlike the WestConnex development, Urban Growth NSW would not compulsorily acquire property.
“There’s a huge need for light rail and public transport and yet there are no plans whatsoever to provide funding for light rail,” Dr Clerke said.
Urban Growth NSW expects the project will be implemented from 2015 following further consultation.