Community action group REDWatch are worried about the fly-through images and the impact that the buildings will have on the community and local heritage sites. REDWatch spokesperson Irene Doutney said they are concerned with the “wall” that the high-rise buildings will create between Chippendale and Redfern.
“REDWatch were involved in some community consultation where UrbanGrowth said, ‘What would you like?’ and ‘How would it work?’ The one thing that everybody said was that they didn’t want a wall built down the middle of the railway lines,” she said. “Everybody said they wanted green corridors and parks, plenty of space that makes it all one area. Look at the fly-through – where’s the green spaces? It’s just a wall.”
Kerrie Symonds, spokesperson for UrbanGrowth, said that the project is still in the early stages of investigation and that community consultation will “continue throughout 2014 to develop a concept for future planning of the Corridor in 2014”.
“The fly-through should not be considered as final or detailed future development in the area. The community will continue to be involved in setting a vision and objectives in planning for future development,” Ms Symonds said.
The future of local heritage sites has also come under scrutiny after the publication of the fly-through images. Ms Doutney said that members of REDWatch were concerned that there were buildings illustrated as being built where there are currently heritage sites. The heritage sites include the North Eveleigh site, the Australian Technology Park and possibly some public housing in South Eveleigh.
While there has been no confirmation from UrbanGrowth that the heritage sites will remain untouched throughout the project, Ms Symonds has reiterated that the fly-through was produced to “encourage market interest in the Central to Eveleigh corridor and should not be considered as final or detailed future development in the area. The heritage sites within the area establish a unique character that will play an important part in future planning,” she said.
Sarah Tombs, a resident of Redfern, says that the impact the project will have on the area could damage the community as a whole. “I really do hope that this [the fly-through as imaged] isn’t what will actually happen, because it will just segregate us from surrounding areas. Redfern and the suburbs around us have a great vibe as a small community within a big city – there is a huge chance that that will disappear if this goes ahead like the pictures show.”
UrbanGrowth said there has been little feedback since the images were made public on March 8, 2014. “There has not been a significant response to the fly-through. There have been positive comments regarding the potential for the railway line to be enclosed,” Ms Symonds said.
At this stage the primary concern of UrbanGrowth is “to meet the future needs of Sydney residents and business, including providing more links across the rail corridor, improved public domain and better transport experiences,” she added.
However, Ms Doutney says that UrbanGrowth’s lack of feedback and acknowledgement of community concerns has been disappointing. “Since going to the consultation we were promised the minutes – we never got them. We couldn’t lay eyes on the fly-through until it was released by UrbanGrowth to the media,” she said. “This is so ‘government’ – to invite you to participate in consultation and then never give you the results. There was no consultation on what they were going to release, and what they’ve released is exactly what people didn’t want.”