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In Sydney NSW on “Harbourside - Staged...” at Darling Drive, Sydney, NSW:

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.

Conclusion

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.

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