City News

City of Sydney Council: Plans for Botany Road Corridor welcomed, but fears of overdevelopment remain

The Botany Road redevelopment will raise building heights near the Waterloo Metro. Photo: City of Sydney.

By SASHA FOOT

The City of Sydney has endorsed plans to introduce commercial office, retail and entertainment spaces alongside an increase of affordable housing to the Botany Road Corridor. 

Council unanimously voted to support the redevelopment of Botany Road, Regent, Wyndham and Gibbons Street on Monday.

The plans will form office spaces for 14,500 employees, supplemented by an affordable housing scheme of 10,000 dwellings. Building heights under the approved plans will reach up to 17 stories. 

REDWatch spokesperson Geoffrey Turnbull welcomed the plans. 

“One of the things the City of Sydney has done well is a good urban design of what blocks are capable of development and what needs to be consolidated before it’s developed,” he told City Hub. 

Turnball admits to being “surprised” by the building height increase of South Eveleigh and Gibbons Street. 

Upgrades aim to meet the demands of the neighbouring redevelopment sites, Waterloo Social Housing Estate and the Waterloo Metro Station. 

Turnbull says the planned infrastructure meets the area’s growing student population. 

“A lot of the residential corridor has been student housing and that does skew the demographic [so] it does make sense [for] there be increased commercial development,” he said.

Community concern 

Groundswell Chairperson Michael Shreenan however has raised concerns about the area’s overdevelopment. 

“Waterloo and its surroundings are subject to several development sites … it is hard to keep up,” Shreenan told City Hub. 

“There is ever-growing concern about density, traffic impacts, pedestrian safety, and lack of resident involvement.”

Turnbull understands that Council plans are a better alternative to the State Government’s redevelopment sites.

“The City has been more sympathetic to surrounding conservation areas where the Government… have basically tried to push those densities and heights up to get the maximum return for their own land.”

The Department of Planning originally launched plans to repurpose the Corridor before handing the infrastructure brief to the City of Sydney. The Council underwent public consultation in August last year.

The inner-city Indigenous Australian community formed a large part of the feedback process due to the cultural significance of the site. 

City of Sydney Councillor Linda Scott is happy with the Council’s Indigenous engagement response. 

“The Botany Road Precinct has ensured that the history and cultural significance is preserved through its extensive consultation with [the] Indigenous community,” she told City Hub. 

Turnbull says Indigenous cultural integration should be an ongoing consideration for Council. 

“[REDWatch] knows there is some work that’s being done on Aboriginal cultural identity but we certainly welcome the strengthening of that element,” Turnbull said. 

“We will be looking at a strong response to Aboriginal affordable housing and keeping a viable [Indigenous] community in the area.”

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