Darlington Campus, Darlington, NSW

The University of Sydney, Darlington Campus - Redevelopment of the Engineering Building and Engineering Link Building for various engineering and technology uses.

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  1. Pristine Ong commented

    I question the University's request to waive development contributions under Section 94 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. In Section 13.0 "Waiving of Section 94 Contributions" of the document submitted for assessment titled "Request for the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) – State Significant Development" (p. 29), the University justifies this request by writing that it contributes to the community by providing various communities, sporting and cultural facilities and spaces, etc. However, these are things that the University has to provide to students anyway to support student life. While I understand that the general public may access these spaces, the University effectively acts as a insular community (there are physical gates around the campus which prevents permeability), so the wider community only gets limited access or perceives that it gets only limited access even though it is a public institution.

    Additionally, in 2012, the NSW Vice-Chancellors' Committee wrote a submission to the NSW Planning System review (p. 6), saying that universities should be exempt from payment development contributions because they would impact on university budgets. Given recent reports of financial misconduct by university staff and also the multi-million dollar salaries of vice-chancellors (the University of Sydney's Michael Spence earns A$1.4 million after an increase of 56% over five years), we must question why the salary packages of University bosses are considered more important than contributions to the public.

    Finally, it is questionable if sufficient consultation was undertaken for this project. 200 invitations were letterbox dropped to the surrounding community. I live in the surrounding community and did not receive this invitation, which I gather is because the engagement plan only included residents in a very small radius of the site. However, given the size of the building and the University, the catchment should have been much larger. Furthermore, the consultation report does not indicate if staff and students were consulted. Since this is a building for teaching and research, it would be an oversight if they were missed during consultation. The presentation shown during consultation made no mention of the University's seeking to waive developer contributions, which is an important bit of information for resident action groups.

    Read more:

    NSW Vice-chancellors' Committee (2012), Planning System Review Submission: https://sydney.edu.au/documents/about/higher_education/2012/20120229_NSWVCC_PlanningSystemReviewSubmission.pdf

    The Conversation (2018), Vice-chancellors' salaries are just a symptom of what's wrong with universities: https://theconversation.com/vice-chancellors-salaries-are-just-a-symptom-of-whats-wrong-with-universities-90999

    Sydney Morning Herald (2018), More than 20 Sydney Uni staff under investigation: https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/more-than-20-sydney-uni-staff-are-under-investigation-20180207-p4yzk9.html

  2. Catherine Kennedy commented

    This is the first time I have seen this DA but the eloquent comments of Ms Ong prompted me to add my voice. For too long Sydney University has acted in its own interest with complete disregard for the local community and it is time this changed. The license to make money from educating foreign students will not last and the University must adjust. One way to transition to this should be making the University available to others but not as a revenue stream. Inclusion of the wider community would lead to a broadening of education and its role in adapting to the challenges of the 21st century. Universities won’t be imitations of Oxford and Cambridge any more, nor will they be corporations with salaries to match.
    I live about 1 km from Sydney University (its hard to tell as they own so much of Darlington and surrounds) and have never been consulted about any developments.
    Time to act honourably Syd Uni!

  3. Karen White commented

    Could not agree more. I live in a very close proximity to the university and have never been consulted about their developments. In addition The Sydney University's seems to be moving into the business of major accommodation developers so not sure why they should apply for any waivers.

  4. Joe commented

    Karen White
    I love that you came here to express your opinion. That’s fantastic and I encourage you to continue to speak your mind.

    I can appreciate that one public feedback mechanism can look like another. But this isn’t Facebook. I would like to let you know that replying to a DA in Planning Alerts isn’t like other places where your opinion is reviewed in relation to the other posts. It’s a submission to council or your local state or council rep. So you saying “I couldn’t agree more” might be perceived as you agreeing to the DA instead of the opinion you just read against the DA. I’m guessing you are against the DA. It might be worthwhile coming back to clarify your opinion so that your desires and thoughts are clear.


  5. Peter McGee commented

    I feel the proposal is inappropriate and would completely alter and degrade the heritage integrity of the precinct. In addition the public road at the rear of the properties would effectively be captured by the university for its private use and profit.

    The addition of another 300 student residents would increase pressure on congestion of roads and local amenity and will exacerbate a problem that will become apparent when the student accommodation on the Sydney University Regiment site is operational.

    There will be significant additional noise, parking problems and pollution associated with the significant change in residential density in the area.

    One can only feel the utmost sympathy for the owners of few privately held residences within the site that will be dramatically and negatively impacted by this over-development proposal.

    The university could easily build over its sporting fields or utilise the green space in front of the Fisher Library, which would have little negative impact on the local residents of Darlington, if there is a dire need for on campus student accommodation.

  6. Deidre Mitchell commented

    Stop with the student accommodation.

  7. Joe commented

    I think a lot of people are missing the point.
    Students living neat campus have little need for cars with the availability of bus and train so close. Car share covers the need around that. There is no evidence this will bring more cars into the area.
    I moved into Newtown because it is so close to the city and all that offers. One shouldn’t live in the inner city and not expect housing to increase. Mascot and green square are examples of building hoses before community. We already have community.

    Students need a mix of housing. From bespoke accoms like this to shared housing in the private sector. I can only see an upside to more youth in the neighbourhood.

  8. Nicole commented

    I don’t feel the UNI are being good neighbours to the private residents that are in between the proposed development. It really looks like a good way to de-value there properties. I know I wouldn’t like going from a nice sunny backyard to having a 3 storey development on both sides. Especially property 120. Nice work let’s put a rooftop terrace overlooking for noise and reducing your privacy. I feel they should be asked to cut backorreduce the height of this proposal at the neighbouring properties. I also feel 2 stories high would be more appropriate and in keeping with the terraces nearby.

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