By Tang Li
Inner west residents are increasingly concerned that UrbanGrowth’s proposed high-rises will encroach on Petersham Park.
Community backlash around the NSW Government’s proposal to build the WestConnex tunnel underneath Parramatta Road, has intensified. The proposal would remove approximately 80 houses in the area to build an entry and exit point from the tunnel at Petersham Park.
Roads Minister Duncan Gay announced in December that the plan would be revised to avoid encroaching on the park.
But an UrbanGrowth report released last year proposed 10 to 24 storey high-rise buildings in the Taverners Hill Precinct, mainly in North Petersham. The report states that this development would be an attempt to support higher scale residential development.
Community action group Save Petersham Park has fought back, claiming that high-rise residential development in the vicinity of the park will change the unique image and identity of the area, and subsequently impact the community.
Spokesperson for Save Petersham Park, Kath Reynolds, said that the park is a real meeting place that has a village feel.
“The park has been here since 1887. The oval was opened in 1909 and the bandstand in 1902, so it’s a really character-full area with lots of history,” Ms Reynolds said.
Marrickville Greens Councillor and candidate for Summer Hill Max Phillips said the Greens were against the proposed overdevelopment of Taverners Hill.
“That kind of development around Petersham Park will change the character of the neighbourhood and is being pushed by the profit motive of the development lobby rather than for the benefit of the community.” Mr Phillips said.
“The associated over-development of WestConnex will be detrimental to the inner west.”
Mr Phillips also said that they were very concerned that local infrastructure did not exist to support the highly dense development in terms of local roads, childcare, schools and parks.
UrbanGrowth has been unable to provide concerned residents with information on exactly how many storeys they propose to construct.
Although their spokespeople have stated that it is merely a proposal and nothing is concrete, a brochure has shown that the Taverners Hill Precinct, including the park, will be of higher density than other areas and that it could be up to 25 storeys high.
Further concerns have been raised regarding the impact of the shade from the proposed high-rise development on the environment of the park and oval.
“The residents here have no backyards and live in flats so that whole feeling of being in nature and in an open tree environment will disappear” Ms. Reynolds said.
UrbanGrowth has released its Draft Parramatta Road Urban Renewal Strategy and encourages residents to provide feedback until 12 February when it will draw up another proposal for community consultation.
The UrbanGrowth website cites the Parramatta Road corridor as a priority for the growth and improvement of Sydney, and states the vision is to transform Parramatta Road from a ‘hostile, clogged artery’ to a ‘spine of commerce and community activity’.
The Save Petersham Park group will host an action picnic on Sunday 8 February at 11:30am in Petersham Park, and the WestConnex Action Group will host the King Street Crawl: ‘Stop WestConnex’ on Sunday 1 February at 1pm at the Hub.