Posted by & filed under Inner West Independent.

A revised set of development proposals for the former Balmain Leagues Club site in Rozelle has sparked further controversy among community groups and local officials.

The new proposals follow on from the initial development plans that were rejected in July 2010.

As compared to the rejected proposal, the new plan includes one extra tower and more than doubles the number of dwellings.

Leichhardt Mayor Rochelle Porteous said the revised development plans are unsustainable and should be totally rejected.

She said the development would be catastrophic for traffic and would disrupt the entire suburb.

“The size of the buildings is grossly out of context here. The height would cause overshadowing and overlooking into people’s backyards and nearby streets.

“What Council wants to see on this site is appropriate development with public benefit. We are also keen to see the Balmain Leagues club returned to Rozelle but the scale of this development is deeply offensive to our community,” Ms Porteous said.

The mayor’s views have been echoed by local community groups and residents.

Local architect Gonzalo Gonzalez said the plans appear completely alien to the surrounding area and aim to do little more than to maximise floor space.

An alternative method of developing the site, other than the one proposed should be pursued, he said.

“All major projects in Australia, such as this one, would benefit greatly from architectural competitions to encourage design excellence,” Mr Gonzalez said.

President of the Balmain Rozelle Chamber of Commerce, Jodie Stewart said: “The proposed development plan would cause the closure of many local shops on Darling St, and would also impact local business owners in surrounding suburbs.”

“If this new proposal is approved, the face of our beautiful village will be irreversibly ruined,” she said.

However, Rozelle Village Pty Ltd maintain that the new development proposal would benefit the Rozelle community by not only providing thousands of new jobs, but also by filling the current gap in local shopping and community service provision.

“For too long this area has been ignored, with no essential community services, no plans to provide improved access to facilities other communities take for granted and no economic stimulus to help existing traders build their businesses,” managing director of Rozelle Village Pty Ltd, Ian Wright, said.

He said that the new proposals address the issues raised by the community about the initial plans.

“We hope these efforts will be acknowledged, particularly in relation to the significant design changes to address concerns around traffic, residential building bulk and commercial impact,” Mr Wright said.

The new plans for the site are currently on exhibition and can be viewed at both Leichhardt Council’s Citizen Services Centre and the Balmain Library. A scale model of the proposed development can also be viewed at Balmain Library.

By Drew Rooke