422-424 Cleveland Street Surry Hills NSW 2010

PAN-36199 Construction of mixed use development comprising a 26 bedroom boarding house, cafe, and co-working space.

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We found this application for you on the planning authority's website 12 months ago. It was received by them 8 months earlier.

(Source: City of Sydney, reference D/2020/993)

28 Comments

Have your say by adding your own comment.

  1. Alexa Wyatt commented

    Whilst any improvement on this long derelict site is welcome, the proposed design is to me one of the ugliest concepts I have ever seen. It looks like a giant arthropod swallowing the Kirk. Justification for how this is sympathetic to the beautiful old church is exceedingly tenuous. Reflecting circular windows in the church in no way compensates for how the new building not just dominates but overpowers the old. The applicants are seeking a height variation of over a metre which should not be granted as the new building simply overwhelms the old. Removal of the upper floor would solve both these problems. I also query how the community arts space in the existing Kirk will effectively function when directly above it is residential space. Noise impacts on residents are the most obvious outcome, so exactly how is the community space intended to be effectively used without disrupting those living above? Curfews kill theatre and live performance, already crushed by covid. Have the developers consulted anyone in the arts community to discuss optimum use for the space? A beautiful building like the Kirk deserves better than this. Please reject the proposed design for a more sympathetic and aesthetic solution.

  2. Christine commented

    I would totally agree with the former comments. It would appear that we are now embarking on a slippery slope by Council whereby buildings of historical significance are going to be swallowed by poorly designed and ill conceived developments. A fine line between keeping the traditional character of the area and buildings and allowing these to be encroached by new developments. Whilst it is applauded that the Kirk will be restored, the proposed building behind does nothing to enhance the view from any angle. The 4th floor extension is unnecessary. Indeed the 'wings' that the new building visually adds to the Kirk are not in keeping with the Kirk at all. To allow this design to go ahead shows that Council is no longer interested in keeping the sympathetic development of the Redfern area. The fact that it is a boarding house also raises questions on how many boarding lodgements can Redfern have before it is becomes a ghetto.

  3. Salina London commented

    I can't believe the council are even considering this application. There are so many better ways to utilise this beautiful space & so many better designs for renovation. Just across the road on Cleveland there is going to be 3+ years of construction after which any existing views & trees will be gone, not to mention that tenants would be completely surrounded by unbearable construction noise. On top of the major construction site beginning in January there is also sound pollution from the traffic & car wash on Cleveland.This is especially important considering everyone is working from home for at least another 12 months. There is also just too much going on in the proposed development, entertainment venue + boarding house + cafe + bar seems excessive. Zero changes should be made to the front end of the building. This proposed design adds nothing to the local area & frankly the last thing Surry Hills needs is a boarding house. Thank you.

  4. Lynette Preston commented

    I am a firm supporter of adaptive reuse of buildings and applaud the intent to provide low cost accommodation. I do not consider myself well positioned to comment on the specifics of the accommodation arrangements themselves.

    My huge concern is the external shape and appearance of the proposed additions. I agree with the other submissions that it is impossible to see how the proposal compliments, supports and enhances the existing form. The proposal has excessive bulk, its ornamental features (window shapes, roof coverings etc) overwhelming the elegant simplicity of the existing facade. The 'wings' and their forward looking window ' eyes' which extend from the addition southwards over the existing roof are breathtakingly discordant, unappealing and an imposing overreach. The request by council to push this extent of this hideous addition further north changes nothing. All in all the sense of the new addition design is some kind of modern gothic and seems more a representation of the shows held at the site more recently than celebrating the original built form.

    I find it incredulous that the proposal has been considered by council to date as meeting enough development controls to allow it to have been lodged and is now under review. I ask for an urgent revision of the external facade - to a simpler, more relaxed, elegant form which celebrates the lovely old church.

  5. Kat Penko commented

    I have just viewed the plans and choked on my toast!

    The proposed behemoth, a carapace enveloping the rear of the Kirk, is breathtakingly unjustifiable. It is the architectural equivalent of a gargantuan Godzilla consuming the church.

    An over-detailed, insensitive, bulky form, (the Latin term horror vacui comes to mind), that bears little relationship to the elegant simplicity of the church.

    This proposed development is kitsch, ugly and totally inappropriate, not only for an inner city suburb known for its fine period architecture, but it would jar in any landscape.

    The proposal must not be approved without significant modification and I suggest the concept be reviewed not only by Council’s planners and heritage architects, but be pitched to architects known for innovative solutions when tasked with creating contemporary extensions for existing period buildings.

  6. David Murphy commented

    We, along with many other local residents, are totally opposed to the scale, design and general impact of this proposal. We agree with other comments that it tries to do way too many different things, builds too high, brings in too much traffic to a narrow one-way street, and generally hogs the whole space in a way that won't work for anyone, including for it's own many residents and the ultimately unusable function-space. The impact won't be on Cleveland St, the activity/ access/ overlooking/ loss of community access will mainly affect High Holborn and Goodlet Sts. Lastly the whole community looks on the Kirk fondly, and this massive hostel will just swallow it up.

  7. James George commented

    I was surprised and dismayed to view the redevelopment application for the old Cleveland Street Kirk. I am opposed to the development on a number of grounds.

    On first viewing of the proposed plan I was struck by the sheer ugliness of the proposed development. An over-scaled outsized monstrous multi-eyed carbuncle of a building is proposed to be added to the rear of the beautiful old Kirk. This is is no way sympathetic to the charm and character of the surrounding neighbourhood - especially beautiful High Holborn Street.

    On further reading of the development application I was further dismayed that the development was to include yet another boarding house in Surry Hills - a form of accommodation of which our lovely neighbourhood is in no way under-endowed. The proposed development is at odds with the more settled and smaller-scaled environment of High Holborn St and surrounding environs.

    The performance/arts space proposed by the development will significantly reduce the amenity of the surround area as it will create a huge increase in foot traffic which will be compounded by the lateness of performance times meaning local residents will be disturbed constantly prior to and after performances. If alcohol is added into the mix at post-performance times the foot traffic is likely to be rowdy and anti-social at best. The laneway position off the proposed development is also likely to promote lingering and further noise and anti-social activities.

    The redevelopment of the Surry Hills Shopping Mall will already place a significant strain on those living in the neighbourhood for the period of its redevelopment, estimated at a couple of years. The proposed redevelopment of the old Kirk will only add to this noise, pollution and commotion. I have real fears for the well-being of local residents who for a prolonged period will have very limited access to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes which is already compromised by existing noise levels. The height of the proposed development will also compromise the level of natural light to surrounding properties.

    In conclusion I believe the proposed development is oversized, unattractive and inappropriate for its location and will significantly reduce the amenity of the local neighbourhood and its environs and have a significant negative impacts on local residents.

  8. Graeme Aitken commented

    I cannot comprehend how this proposed development with its mish-mash of purposes enhances City of Sydney’s vision for a “City of Villages” - unless you see the need for ‘the village idiot’ and want to create a monument to the ill-conceived and idiotic!

    I read the documents submitted for the DA with interest.

    Personally, I applaud Gretel Pinniger and everything she created to enliven Sydney nightlife at The Kirk. Many of the events and parties held there are still talked of with great nostalgia. But this all occurred decades ago and the building has been inactive for at least a decade - and times have changed so dramatically. Everything in Sydney is now hyper policed, with consent and compliance paramount and we live in much more socially conservative times. Which makes continuing her legacy a great challenge...

    The primary problem with this DA is the affect noise will have on the immediate and near neighbours, oppressing them for decades to come.

    There is now an apartment building (corner of Cleveland and High Holborn Streets) directly opposite The Kirk which was only built in 2000. So it was there for perhaps 10 years while The Kirk was operational but that venue was petering out as a performance/party space. That is approximately 40 to 50 people who will be very directly affected by the noise from this proposed ‘arts venue’. The apartment building has 27 lots and most are occupied by two people. But then of course there are the 59 residents of the boarding house who have to live right alongside this venue. No amplified music after 10pm (sure!) and events finish at midnight (hmm, weekends too?) and seven days a week. Then they all stroll up High Holborn Street afterwards to the light rail chattering away about the event they just attended and disturbing the entire street!

    And what’s this small detail - there may be a bar added in under a separate DA ... so I think we can probably double the disturbance to everyone! And factor in some antisocial behaviour, public urination and the like! The “uninhibited and non-judgmental space” that the developers want to establish in line with Gretel Pinniger’s vision may very well spill out onto High Holborn Street and continue after midnight along there!

    This is just completely inappropriate in an area which is primarily residential and also a rather lovely street to live in. The southern end of High Holborn Street already have to endure the great roar of traffic and exhaust fumes from Cleveland Street and now this DA want to assault them on their western flank with live entertainment 7 days a weeks until midnight! There is only so much that can be endured!

    And that is if the development actually sticks to what it proclaims it wants to be ... they seem to always get amended and amended and morph into something that is less about “the arts and creatives” and more about making money!

    And who will reside in this boarding house? No one is going to want to live next-door to a 7-day a week entertainment venue except the truly desperate! I don’t see how artists are going to create art living next to and on top of this cacophony! Don’t they need some silence for contemplation? Similarly students need some quiet for study. I also suspect that the generation in their twenties and thirties today are are a little more cautious than their counterparts in the 1960s to 1990s (who probably would have embraced this set-up)!

    So worst case scenario (which much be considered) - let’s say an unsavoury element creeps into the boarding house. Social problems mount up. The full-time manager is quickly overwhelmed - that is they can even find anyone game to stick at this unenviable live-in role! Fellow residents and neighbours are terrorised. Who’s going to resolve the problems/issues? City of Sydney? The police? Social services? Or no one... Perhaps the only solution would be to bring back Gretel Pinniger and her whip to assert discipline!

    Though it also just seems a prime example of over development to cram so many people into what is essentially a backyard! There will be more people living in this boarding house than there are in the apartment block opposite which is more than twice the size!

    Other people have raised other concerns and I absolutely echo all of them:
    - traffic and parking problems in such a tiny street
    - the visual impact of this building overwhelming not only The Kirk but a particularly charming and unique Surry Hills streetscape
    - overshadowing and overlooking neighbours and also obliterating pleasant neighbour views
    - cigarette smoke intruding into dwellings of 426 Cleveland St

    I passionately entreat the City of Sydney to completely reject this development application. I can see that this proposal has been finessed with great care and an enormous amount of spin! It’s uses a lot of words and expressions that people are eager for in the 2020s - the arts, creatives, co-living facility, repurposing a beloved building that has fallen into disrepair ... oh yes, it’s all sounds very lofty and ideal. Until you look a little closer at the detail and realise that this development will intrude upon a particularly unique and charming heritage streetscape and torment the residents for decades to come!

    Just ask yourself Councillors - would you like to live next-door to a 7-days a week until midnight “cultural facility”? Yet there will be 100+ people very directly impacted who are obliged to do exactly that (the boarding house, Mezzanine Apartment building, and some terraces houses west of The Kirk).
    That is simply too many people to be assaulted by this disturbance and for that reason alone the DA should be rejected.

    The City of Sydney has a vision to create ‘a liveable city’ - and this proposal will make the lives of 100 people distinctly unliveable!

  9. Toni Martin commented

    I am in full agreement with all of the above objections to this very ugly monstrosity in our lovely neighbourhood.
    I can’t understand city of Sydney council allowing it!
    I have lived in this neighbourhood for 22 years and hope to continue living here.
    Safety, noise impacts, parking as well as this being a conservation street are a few of the issues I have with this development. Most of the other issues have been put very succinctly by my neighbors

    I hope you consider the impact this will have on the area.
    A lovely green space might be worth consideration! A sculpture maybe!
    Thank you

  10. Jordan Kerr commented

    Also agree with all of what's been said above.

    I'm all for bringing a city forwards and introducing new entertainment/amenities. And although I appreciate the thought put into bringing lower cost living to market, I'm yet to see the research that's been conducted to display the demand for this type of accommodation in the area.

    A building with this type of tenant density (59) also makes no sense without adequate parking being built as a prerequisite of the development. This part of Surry Hills already struggles with parking. And providing on site parking for 6 motorcycles and 17 bicycles is a rather sad joke. That wouldn't provide enough parking for people visiting the proposed events/cafe/bar, let alone the residents of the proposed building. Instead it would come at the cost of an already suffering infrastructure.

    And as also already mentioned, a towering hulk of a building of this design (as per plan), hardly fits in with the heritage of this entire part of Surry Hills. Not to mention the compromise of current resident comfort/privacy it introduces. This is a sleepy quiet part of Surry Hills with families.

    Please consider the impact this development would have not only to the local residents, but also the surrounding area. Thanks.

  11. Bec Bowring commented

    I was so excited when I heard the site was getting some love, but this massive enveloping of the kirk is heartbreaking. The proposal doesn't even realise that High Holborn St is closed at BOTH ends now so traffic in & out of that loading dock is madness. I hope sanity prevails & the old girl (and the community) can be treated with more respect than this proposal gives

  12. Tamara Robinson commented

    The proposed design is totally unsympathetic to the style of the Kirk, it's hulking form totally engulfs the church and dominates the facade on Cleveland Street. It shocks me that developers have the gall to even propose such careless destruction of our rare and dwindling heritage.

    This spot is one of the delightful hidden pockets of Surry Hills, with narrow winding streets that will be severely compromised by the additional traffic this overdevelopment will create.

    As a local resident, and frequent pedestrian in this area I'd like to see this proposal rejected in it's entirety.

  13. Anna Bruce commented

    My heart sank when I saw the proposal to completely engulf the lovely little Kirk with such an ill-conceived monstrosity. The developers propose an oversized boarding house completely unsympathetic in style to the proud little church, with a hulking form that not only swamps the building and the surrounding houses at the rear, but also wraps right over the top of the building, dominating the facade on Cleveland street, rendering the poor little church subservient to a ghastly post-modern regurgitation.

    As a local resident, pedestrian and public transport user, I am deeply concerned about the fate of the lovely Goodlet and High Holborn Streets. The streets are adorned with charming mosaics and beautiful street gardens that wait to be discovered and then cherished by pedestrian commuters and lucky explorers. The trees wear colourful sweaters and people and dogs pass on the way to the park or the light rail. What a shame to bring a massive overdevelopment complete with a noisy bar, a boarding house and a loading dock that will occupy public space and bring endless traffic. In the name of supporting ‘community’ and ‘culture’, the proposed development would push the diverse families of the area and the streetscape they have created back into their homes and destroy one of few remaining pedestrian paradises.

  14. Craig Stevens commented

    My initial reaction to the development proposal for 422-424 Cleveland St Surry Hills is that it presents a massive overdevelopment of the site.

    The proposed new extension, behind the existing Kirk building, is out of scale with the Kirk itself, and the surrounding buildings and neighbourhood. The size and appearance of the extension is of a monster that is devouring the Kirk.

    Additionally I believe the proposed primary use of the new extension as a 'co-living facility' introduces a density, with associated traffic, that is inappropriate for the site and the area.

    Further, the proposed repurposing of the Kirk as a community/entertainment facility and its hours of operation appear excessive in an already densely populated residential neighbourhood. Perhaps a more scaled back option such as a gallery space may be a more appropriate reuse of the Kirk.

    While I support the preservation of the original Kirk building and its revitalisation, I do not support the current development proposal. A much more considered and sensitive repurposing of the site is warranted.

  15. Emile Raju commented

    Completely agree with all of the comments posted. I've been a resident of Surry Hills and Redfern for the past 17 years. I live very close to the area of the proposed development with my wife and two young children both of whom go to school at Bourke St Primary School and we absolutely love living here. This area of Surry Hills only just started to develop into a family friendly place to live where a peaceful community has been carefully built over many years. If this development goes ahead, it will destroy that fabric and create significant problems in the months and years to come. Along with all the other residents, we hope it doesn't go ahead. Please do not let this greedy development go ahead.

  16. Lucy Luo commented

    This development seems like an absolute disaster waiting to happen!! Sydney City Council...you are much better than this...come on!!! The Kirk needs a sympathetic makeover not another money maker. Thanks.

  17. Emile Raju commented

    Completely agree with all of the comments posted. I've been a resident of Surry Hills and Redfern for the past 17 years. I live very close to the area of the proposed development with my wife and two young children both of whom go to school at Bourke St Primary School and we absolutely love living here. This area of Surry Hills only just started to develop into a family friendly place to live where a peaceful community has been carefully built over many years. If this development goes ahead, it will destroy that fabric and create significant problems in the months and years to come. Along with all the other residents, we hope it doesn't go ahead. Please do not let GREED destroy our community.

  18. Jeremy Martorana commented

    The additional looks terrible, personally so does the kirk. Would flatten it and make some replica terrace housing to fit in with the character of the area.

  19. Paul Andrews commented

    I feel conflicted about this development. On one hand, there's no denying that the current architectural scheme for the addition parasitically engulfs the Kirk. The bulk and scale is way too overbearing. Notwithstanding I think it is an interesting design if downscaled.
    On the other hand, the potential social outcomes of this redevelopment are positive. Providing a new arts centre and cultural hub to the area is so very welcomed and is a wonderful reuse of the space. I am excited about the potential to provide artists-in-residence with affordable accommodation and would be very keen to see what cultural capital such programmes would produce. Obviously, in order to restore the Kirk and create these spaces the project needs to be of a scale to make it commercially viable, which I expect is the principle motivation behind the size of the addition.
    Could I suggest that the council conditionally approve this project based on a height reduction? The height line of the addition ought to match with the roof of the Kirk and not the spire in order to reduce its visual impact and to retain the dominance of the Kirk on the site. While the City ought to encourage projects such as this which does seem well intentioned, we need to do it in a way that protects our precious and rapidly diminishing built heritage.

  20. Kim Williams commented

    I would like to object to this DA. The Kirk is an attractive building that adds to the streetscape. The proposed building would detract from the streetscape and surrounds. I am all for adaptive reuse of old buildings, where the original function is not viable or needed anymore, but the scale and design of this new addition is in no way complementary to The Kirk. The proposed building literally looks like it is devouring the smaller scaled older building. The way the proposed new building is joined on to the roof of the older one does not look right. The scale of this proposed development needs to be scaled right back to ensure it does not become an eyesore in the neighbourhood.

  21. Jennifer Stone commented

    I agree with the majority of objections to this proposal on aesthetic and social impact grounds. Permission and completion would be a grave misstep and I hope that all these comments are heard, understood, and sway Council's decision.

  22. Kim Williams commented

    I would like to object to this DA. The Kirk is an attractive building that adds to the streetscape. The proposed building would detract from the streetscape and surrounds. I am all for adaptive reuse of old buildings, where the original function is not viable or needed anymore, but the scale and design of this new addition is in no way complementary to The Kirk. The proposed building literally looks like it is devouring the smaller scaled older building. The way the proposed new building is joined on to the roof of the older one does not look right. The scale of this proposed development needs to be scaled right back to ensure it does not become an eyesore in the neighbourhood.

  23. Graeme Aitken commented

    I wrote an objection the last time this DA was presented and my position remains the same - I am opposed to it.

    A couple of new points I would make:

    The owner of The Kirk has not lived in this suburb for decades and I suspect she does not appreciate how the demographic has changed. It is is no longer dominated by young people flat-sharing in terraces and singles who no doubt used to attend her parties at The Kirk. The area is now dominated by urban professionals, often with children, who have paid millions of dollars for their houses and apartments. They do not want to have some entertainment venue next-door to them, operating all hours, and disturbing their existence and sleep. What is going to be happening in the church part of the development is also disturbingly vague. But I have lived here for 21 years so experienced the Kirk when it did still host events and it was a lot of parties and also live music - so I am imagining it will likely be more of the same. Even if this venue operates to 10pm and midnight on Friday and Saturday nights this is not going to sit well with the family residents. It’s just highly inappropriate in an area that is so heavily residential

    And then there is the vast Toga development under construction where the Surry Hills Mall used to be, just over Cleveland St. Perhaps the roar of Cleveland St traffic will drown out some of the noise for those residents - but honestly why add to the problem? When people have paid a lot of money for their residence they are not just going to put up with a noise issue. They will complain incessantly - and create more work for council, the police, and liquor and gaming.

    I also read with interest an article in the SMH gossip column a couple of months back in which Gretel Pilnniger talked about this project and how it was to be her ‘lasting legacy for Sydney’s creative community’. If these plans don’t get up, it seems she will be selling off the site. It would be rather sad if this church was demolished but honestly I’m inclined to think this would be a better option than what she is proposing. A block of residential apartments (with no performance space and cafe/bar) would probably be less disruptive to some of the neighbouring residents. Though how appropriate is it to cram another block of apartments on Cleveland St with the vast new development across the road...

    Many other locals residents have made complaints about this development and I concur and echo their views.

    I would encourage the councillors to knock back this proposal and there is a long list of very good reasons why articulated in the other objections. But my main objection is that it is going to destroy the peace and atmosphere of a rather lovely neighbourhood and make our world less liveable.

  24. Jess O'Donnell commented

    Oh dear. This appears to be a poorly arranged marriage of old and new. The proposed additions at the back are vulgar in scale and do indeed appear to be swallowing the original building.

    I am all for salvaging historic buildings, but this makes a mockery of all the efforts that go in to protecting older buildings.

    It would be wise to think ahead 50 years and ask how this proposal will sit in the landscape.

  25. Liesel Berling commented

    I have objected to this development previously and will do so again. As a resident in the local area the idea of the lovely old Kirk Building being swallowed whole by the oversized and frankly ugly new addition is disturbing on its own. Add in live music up to seven nights a week up until midnight and it becomes a nightmare for residents in the small surrounding streets. This area is filled with young families and professionals who have chosen these streets for their quiet neighbourhood feeling. This will be completely lost. Not to mention the impacts on traffic flow and parking.

  26. Chris Davies commented

    While I am all in favour of blending historical buildings with modern design, the proposed design fails to blend in any way with the existing structure nor the surrounding buildings in the area. When one looks at other buildings around Surry Hills & Darlinghurst that have sought to blend the new with the old, this design is sub-par in every way. I feel embarrassed for the architects.

    I fail to understand how adding yet another doss house to what is an up and coming area, does anything to improve this area of east Sydney. Cleveland St is a parking lot as it is, this proposal fails to address any of the obvious impacts upon traffic flow.

  27. Drew Andrea commented

    I really like this development. Its been sitting there for years not doing anything.
    The proposal provides a wider choice of housing as not everyone lives in a family residence and many are here temporarily for work etc.
    Rather than just adding on an ugly block shape, the design is quite artistic and representative of the area. I knew something would have to come from it and this is a nice and fair option.

  28. Sylvana Dai commented

    Thanks be for the common sense I have read, speaking my mind. As an older previous resident of said area, which with family still visit often, I trust the value of spacial awareness and solid design of this foundational touchstone will continue as is.
    De-centralised town planning is the way forward, as shared facilities for many have never been humane for any gender.
    I have overcome the adversity & nightmare of the boarding house system which was never a healthy building or healthy social planning design ever. Never a true option, that way is passing, as this wonderful area opens to healthier spaces for all peoples especially the Spirit of Place.
    How many of all social diversity were included in info-gathering?
    Let peace & health guide with Respect and Review even.

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