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In Rozelle NSW on “Conversion of existing...” at 50-58 Evans Street Rozelle NSW 2039:

Ray Stevens (Architect) commented

Council's role in assessing applications like this falls back to the provisions of the LEP that allows such development. It is not Council's role to dictate to owners of property what they are to use their land for if it complies to the Zoning uses in the LEP. The site is zoned residential but there is existing use rights as commercial. Council have in the past followed a strong policy in protecting industrial uses from the many developers that want to develop industrial zoned land which provides employment opportunities to residential areas and protects the services providers such as suppliers, car repairers etc that we all use...... and rightly so.

However Council has neglected to protect commercial spaces like this one and there is a strong push to convert such buildings away from commercial uses which also provides employment opportunities. This is occurring also in the commercial high streets of the municipality as well as in the residential areas. These sites should have been zoned industrial or commercial years ago even when nestled in residential areas but Council neglected to do so. By not doing Council have flagged the desired long term use is residential use not their historic uses. This is planning failure in my view and could have been foreseen when the LEP 2000 was framed and the multiple updates to it. I brought this issue to Council's attention at the time but to no avail. This should be addressed in the upcoming review of all planning instruments for the IWC I would argue.

In regard to this application being the demise of the last hardware shop on the peninsula, I would suggest all those that are worried about this should have supported the Bunnings proposal, but how many did? Some of the objectors here also objected to the Bunnings proposal. This makes no logical sense to me. The Bunnings site has been unoccupied or undersized for twenty years and is an appropriate use in an industrial area for a larger more competitive hardware store.

In regard to parking and traffic, the intensity of use for 50 Evans Street as residential will be far less than it is currently. The design is a sensitive adaptation of an industrial building. There is very little change to the building fabric externally and its industrial character and contribution to the Conservation Area and the history of Balmain which we all appreciate, will remain. I support the proposal overall but like those that don't want to get in the car and drive 20 minutes to another suburb to buy a bag of screws have some remorse.

However, this situation is of our own and Council's making. The pre-DA was being assessed for the conversion of 50 Evans Street to residential at the same time as Bunnings was being assessed. This is the short coming in Council's processing, each application is done in a silo, deliberately!! As a community are we so dumb we can't join dots together!!! I fear so......

So my objection is not so much to this application but a very strong objection and condemnation of Council's opposition to the Bunnings proposal that is in the Land & Environment Court.

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