Inner West Independent

Rozelle developers hope fourth time’s the charm

The developer's rendering of the revised proposal for Rozelle Village

A revised proposal for the former Balmain Leagues Club site has further reduced the height and density of residential towers slated to be built.

Rozelle Village, the international developer seeking rights to the site, submitted its amended proposal on July 15 and will await a decision from the state government’s planning authority.

The changes slash the number of proposed dwellings to 247 from 316, reduce floor space by around 16 per cent and cut the height of the towers to 22 and 17 stories.

In its submission, Rozelle Village said the revisions would ensure “the development is able to contribute to the local housing supply, provide a quality shopping environment and provide ongoing local employment whilst further reducing the visual and amenity impacts arising from the proposal”.

But Leichhardt Council has said the towers are still unworkable and has criticised the State Government for a lack of consultation on the revised documents.

“Two weeks to review an entirely new proposal is a joke,” Mayor Darcy Byrne said.

“It seems like a blatant attempt to lock local residents out of the consultation process.”

The State Government argues that because the proposal is a revision, a formal public exhibition period is not required. The Department of Planning and Infrastructure said it contacted Leichhardt Council and other agencies about the amended PPR as a matter of courtesy. The Department said the two-week response time would ensure timely progression of the matter and constituted no indication of its views on the proposal.

This latest submission marks the fourth major revision of the developer’s plans in an attempt to gain approval on the site. The planning authority rejected a proposal for towers of five and 11 stories in 2010, and then rejected skyscrapers of 25 and 32 stories in 2012. Rozelle Village reduced the height to 24 stories each in November 2012, but were again requested to make “further design modifications”.

Mr Byrne said the developers needed to give up on the towers altogether.

“They simply refuse to acknowledge that skyscrapers won’t work on this site, not least because they will bring traffic on Victoria to a halt,” he said. “They’ve been told that now on several different occasions by both state and federal govt agencies.”

Not everybody opposes the idea, however. The proposal would return the Balmain Leagues Club to the abandoned site, along with an area for commercial activity. On the club’s online forum, a number of users expressed their support.

“Anything must be better than the rat infested hole it is now,” one user posted. “The residents need to stop whinging and allow redevelopment to progress.”

At the weekend it was revealed by The Sydney Morning Herald that former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid had been involved in lobbying for the project’s first iteration in 2010.

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