Darling Drive, Sydney, NSW

Harbourside - Staged Development Application (Concept Proposal) for a new retail shopping centre, residential apartment tower and public domain improvements.

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  1. Yimmy Seifert commented

    Ultimo Village Voice is a community group of Ultimo residents. We have numerous concerns about this development application in view of its scale, density and the impact on the local community. Details of our concerns are listed below.

    First and foremost, we remind the Government that Darling Harbour is a gift to the people of New South Wales and that in 1984 the then premier of NSW, Neville Wran, announced the Government's decision to redevelop Darling Harbour and "return it to the people of Sydney" in time for Australia’s 1988 bicentennial celebrations. Accordingly, public access and interests should be at the forefront of all planning decisions that affect this area.

    Scale & Building Form

    The proposed podium and tower will result in a massive and unacceptable increase in development compared to the existing low rise building.

    The podium is bulky and imposing and would create a four-storey wall along the waterfront with its back to Pyrmont. The tower is excessively high and would dominate the public domain, water and adjacent Pyrmont. The bulk and scale would cause significant impacts within and adjacent to this prime waterfront location.

    The fact that there have been replacements of low rise buildings with taller and denser buildings like the CBA office blocks is not a justification to build more high rise in Darling Harbour. Two wrongs do not make one right! We need to stop this inappropriate “change in character” which will make Darling Harbour no longer a pleasant place to visit with easy open access to the waterfront for all instead of the select few who can afford the expensive waterfront apartments!

    View Impacts & Overshadowing

    The proposed podium and tower are large and bulky and will significantly impose on both
    public and private views.

    As mentioned above, Darling Harbour is dedicated public land and one of its vital roles is providing public access to the harbour, blue skies and a varied skyline. No particular development should dominate outlooks.

    The proposed Harbourside tower will dominate immediate to long-distance public views, blocking or imposing on the sky, including from Cockle Bay, Pyrmont Bridge, Tumbalong
    Park and King Street Wharf as well as Market Street, Darling Drive and the Barangaroo
    foreshore. This will impact severely on the character, amenity and attractiveness of these
    public spaces. The outlook from Pyrmont Bridge is particularly concerning as the heavy
    imposing tower will impact on the experience of walking on this heritage bridge.

    A large number of adjacent residents will also suffer from significant to devastating view impacts from the proposed development, especially in One Darling Harbour, the Oaks Goldsbrough Apartments and the Gateway Apartments, as well to a lesser degree, the Renaissance Apartments, Arena Apartments, The Phoenix Apartments, Harbour’s Edge Apartments and 16-30 Bunn Street. Views are important to the wellbeing of apartment residents, who live with no private open space. A view can connect someone inside an apartment with the outside world and create a sense of space. Loss of views to existing apartments should be avoided and minimized.

    Traffic & Public Transport Impacts

    Ultimo and Pyrmont are amongst the most densely populated suburbs in Sydney, yet the public transport available is appalling. There is only one bus 389 that connects these suburbs to the Central Business District and there are often long waits for this bus even in peak hours. With the increase number of residents from the new residential tower, how is the public transport going to cope?

    Furthermore, providing for 295 residential car parking spaces is excessive and will adversely impact on Harris Street which is already congested and will make the situation worse.

    Pedestrian Access

    Despite the close proximity to the city, there is lack of direct pedestrian access between Ultimo and Pyrmont to and from the city, especially after part of the previous walkway attached to the Western Distributor was removed for new lanes as part of the 2004 Cross City Tunnel changes.

    Residents who want to go to the city are now forced to go via indirect routes into Darling Harbour and make their way to the city, despite promises that the Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Centre Precinct redevelopment would improve access.

    With the redevelopment of Darling Harbour including this development and the Cockle Bay development, it is an ideal opportunity to reinstate direct pedestrian access from Ultimo/Pyrmont to the city.


    We submit that the proposed development, in its current form, will result in a development that is overbearing in size and does not appear to offer any public benefits that might help justify such a substantial redevelopment. We therefore request that this development proposal be rejected.

  2. Lisa Pircher-Reid commented

    After reviewing the Harbourside development proposal, I am concerned about the height of the proposed podium. While I understand the need to redevelop harbourside to suit all of the newer Darling Harbour development, I don't believe such a tall building in its location is appropriate. Aside from the reduced views for nearby residents, the tower will cast long shadows over Darling Harbour. Its current height allows for afternoon sun which makes Darling Harbour a warm and inviting place to spend an evening. Such a tall tower in its place will start to chip away at this ambience and destroy the oppeness and character of Darling Harbour. Tall buildings should be kept to the other side of the harbour, in line with the city skyline. However the Pyrmont skyline is not and should not become a second high-rise skyline. I fear if this development proposal goes through then it is setting a dangerous precedent for the building height in Pyrmont.

  3. David Zaoui commented

    Excessive development, too high and not necessary.

  4. donald denoon commented

    Dear Ms Nettlefold,

    Concept Proposal – Harbourside Redevelopment

    This proposal must be seen in the context of the many buildings proposed or under construction within half a kilometre of the site – The Star extension, the redevelopment of Blackwattle Bay, the apartments to replace the existing Fish Market etc. The effects of intensified residential accommodation and commercial development include denser traffic, increased demands on schools and medical facilities, and overshadowing existing redicatial buildings and the Harbour itself. There is no indication that the proposal acknowledges these as issues, much less addresses them.

    Residents in Ultimo confront a series of new buildings which face the Harbour and turn their blank backs on Ultimo itself. Many therefore welcomed the renovation of Harbourside as an opportunity to bring useful retail to the area, and reconnect the Harbour with the people living next to it.

    We were mistaken. Instead of access and utility the developer has opted to replace a sun-down shopping centre with an immense concrete edifice competing with other over-sized buildings on both sides of Darling Harbour. This exercise brings to mind the expression “to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut”.
    Apart from the material damage that isolation inflicts on residents, consider what it must feel like to confront large blank walls impeding any line of sight to the Harbour itself, and to the city beyond.
    This proposal is a lost opportunity, and should be modified to meet the needs of the residents in the area.
    Yours sincerely,

  5. donald denoon commented

    203/40 Refinery Drive,
    Pyrmont, NSW 2009.
    Tel 95188681
    12 February 2017

    Ms Michele Nettlefold,
    Department of Planning & Environment,
    Level 22, 320 Pitt Street,
    SYDNEY NSW 200

    Dear Ms Nettlefold,

    Thank you for encouraging the community to comment on:
    Concept Proposal – Cockle Bay Wharf Redevelopment.

    Like many residents in Pyrmont and Ultimo, I have engaged in many “community consultations” and discussions of development and redevelopment projects over recent decades. So far, there is no sign that community views have any impact, since projects are far advanced before the community is consulted. You may think of this as consultation: we experience it as information sessions.

    But I state these views in case anyone reads these submissions, and for the benefit of social historians of the future who wonder what happened to Sydney in the 21st Century.

    First, while this proposal makes good sense to the developer, and to State revenue, it ignores social needs, the social infrastructure deficit, and parallel development proposals by other agencies in the Inner West (not to mention The Star). I hoped that the Greater Sydney Commission’s emphasis on inter-agency coordination, town planning, and community consultation might have had some influence on this and similar proposals, but apparently this has not yet occurred. Is it too much to ask that – even though you ignore the people - you consult the Departments of Education, Health and Transport before imposing this ill-considered proposal on the communities affected?

    Second, even without such consultation, it is clear that the proposal involves gross overdevelopment in terms of bulk and height, transforming Darling Harbour into a series of cliffs which overshadow neighbouring buildings, obscure such social facilities as survive, and transform the Harbour into a pond which is often covered by plastic boats.

    In brief, this proposal assumes either than nobody lives in Pyrmont or Ultimo, or that we have no social needs, or that we do not mind the new barriers between us and the CBD.

    Yours more in sorrow than in anger,

    Donald Denoon

  6. Chris Davies commented

    There is far too much high rise development going on in this area. Sydney is known as a beautiful city but with the continuing approval of high rise residential buildings the city is looking more like some asian cities, busy, dirty and over-populated. The city and surrounds cannot handle the continuing increase in population. Roads are at breaking point, the air quality is suffering and those who bought property with a view are now losing that view, even though their view was supposed to be protected by planning regulations.

    Council does not consult with residents, they tell residents what is going on then refer to the various planning policies to approve developments. Council should listen to the tax payers and consider the financial and convenience impacts of this development.

    We are not Honk Kong or Jakarta and we don't want to be.

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