Tuesday, 26 June 2007
Woollahra Municipal Council
PO Box 61
Double Bay NSW 1360
I write to comment on the latest draft Development Control Plan (DCP) for the White City site. These comments supplement my March 2006 submission on the previous draft.
I share community support for this site to be maintained as open space with public access through the site and commend Woollahra Municipal Council on maintaining these objectives in the latest DCP.
White City is located within a medium to high-density residential area, where the majority of residents have little or no private open space.
Recent reports about a possible developer backed purchase of White City Land have revived community concern about the future of the site. Some residents say that there will again be increased pressure for development on the site, making it vital that the DCP strongly reflects Council and community desired outcomes for White City.
The new DCP removes previously stated overarching statements from the December 2005 DCP that aim to prevent development that is inconsistent with the DCP.
The Preliminary no longer includes the statement that “the plan contains requirements that must be fulfilled by the Council throughout the course of the development application”. The DCP does not include previous statements that Council is not to consent to development that is inconsistent with DCP objectives, the existing character elements and the desired future character of the site.
While the DCP is not a legally enforceable document, it is an important tool for Woollahra Council to assess Development Applications and to guide developers. Removal of statements that exclude development contradicting the plan weakens the DCP and reduces community confidence. It also reduces the DCP’s ability to discourage developers lodging Development Applications that contradict it.
I recommend that Council reinstate the previous statements about requirements for Council to ensure development is only approved when consistent with the DCP.
I share local residents’ support for the retention of open space, with landscaping to link the White City site with Trumper Park to the east and Rushcutters Bay Park to the north. It is essential that the objectives of the plan make it clear that open space for public use is to be maximised.
I recommend that the objectives emphasise the requirement for public open space and through site linkages.
The current draft Development Control Plan has a less prescriptive approach to building controls while maintaining height and footprint limits. Other criteria such as view lines have been established.
I have been informed that this will provide Woollahra Council, residents and White City stakeholders with practical parameters for considering future Development Applications.
I support Woollahra Council provisions in the DCP limiting building impacts on White City, environmental heritage and local amenity.
I share residents’ support for the maintenance of the site’s historic links with State and National tennis competition. Grass courts are a part of that heritage value and there is concern that the draft DCP does not guarantee protection of the existing grass courts.
The DCP includes lawn tennis courts within desirable characteristics for the future character of the site, however these are not identified as a requirement. I support community calls that controls be included in the DCP to ensure the protection of grass courts and to maximise the number of tennis courts on site.
I ask that the DCP include controls to ensure protection and number of grass courts.
Strong measures need to be taken to restrict vehicle use and provide alternatives to private vehicles.
The DCP requires on-site parking that meets the demand likely to be generated by development on the site. While this aims to reduce parking impacts for local residents, the DCP could then encourage more people to use cars, increasing congestion in local streets and resulting in loss of recreational space. I welcome the addition to the recent DCP that on-site parking be limited to “the capacity constraints of the adjacent public roads”, however the plan should require development applicants to promote alternatives to private vehicles such as public transport use.
I recommend that the White City DCP restricts parking around and within the site, and encourages public transport and other access alternatives.
Finally, recent press reports suggest that the DCP could allow sports facilities to restrict access by local residents and the public at large. This would be in conflict with an important aim of the community campaign, which was to retain area sporting opportunities.
I ask that the DCP address this issue by requiring a proportional increase in public open space contribution or through other measures.
Member for Sydney
Related information: | Planning & Development |