Wednesday, July 4, 2012

BCCT Response on Uniting Care DA 1305

The General Manager
Hornsby Shire Council
PO Box 37 Hornsby NSW 1630

Joint Regional Planning Panel
23-33 Bridge Street
NSW 2000

RE DA 2011SYW128 / 1305/2011
7-11 Hannah St and 129-131 Copeland Rd Beecroft

Dear Sirs,

The Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust has reviewed the amended plans for the above Development Application and sees no reason to change its outright opposition to the entire proposal.

Zoning of the Beecroft Cheltenham Area

The proposal still flies in the face of the zoning rules.  As Councillor Hutchence so eloquently stated during the JRPP hearing, Council has already gazetted the Beecroft Shopping Village (BSV) precinct for 5 storey mixed commercial and residential development specifically to provide for the need for more housing.  If Uniting Care wish to provide affordable housing, they can purchase land in the BSV and develop it with no basis for local opposition.
Character of Local Area
The only speaker at the JRPP who claimed the 5 storey development will be in character with the rest of the area was a paid representative of the developer, and he didn’t attempt to justify his claim, he just said that it was in character.  No unbiased observer would agree with this statement.

Concerns about the Urban Design Review (UDR), Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE), and Heritage Impact Statement (HIS) listed in the Trust’s earlier objection remain unaffected by the modifications made since the first JRPP hearing.

Comment on the JRPP Hearing

It must be noted that both community representatives on the JRPP were absent at the JRPP meeting on this issue.

The JRPP agenda was to hear from the opponents to the development before the proponents spoke, so the opponents were unable to challenge the developer’s evidence.  While the panel members questioned witnesses about their evidence, the public was not offered the same privilege.

One obvious question must be how the developer can claim traffic volumes of only five to ten cars an hour, given there are 41 units remaining, most of whose occupants are working and a significant proportion of whom will wish to drive to work.  One must assume the stated traffic volume is an average taken over the full day and week, which is irrelevant to the rush hour problems foreseen on Copeland Road.

Some 120 local residents attended the hearing as silent protest against the development. 
The minutes of the meeting list those who spoke, but fail to distinguish between the 13 concerned residents who spoke against the proposal and the five paid employees or servants of the developer who spoke in favour.  Clearly the minutes should reflect that only those in the employment of the developer spoke in favour of the proposal.

Comment on the Revised Plans

While the Trust absolutely rejects the idea of spreading affordable housing away from the Beecroft Shopping Village area, and is convinced this development is totally out of character, the annex to this letter contains thoughts on how the adverse impact of the design could be made less unattractive.


The Trust again asserts that the proposed development, even as now modified, demonstrably fails the required character test under clause 16A of the ARH SEPP and for this and many other reasons the proposed development must be refused.

Yours sincerely,  

Peter Hewitt

Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust

0417 215 774 
Copy to C Ward Councillors.

Enclosure – Thoughts on Improving the Proposal

Thoughts on Improving the Proposal

While opposing the overall concept of multi-storey development on this location, the Trust suggests the following amendments to the current plans:
·         The edge between No 15 Hannah St and the driveway needs better detail attention – both with respect to the scale difference of the proposed new 2 storey building, and the existing house on No 15.  Now that Uniting Care is moving to purchase No 15, such appropriate design attention can, and should, be given to this area before final approval.
·         One further unit should be removed from the top level of Building 3 ( the south building ) so that the massing is stepped more.  This would benefit the residences to the south, 127 Copeland Rd  in particular.
·         Good architectural modulation is required in the detail of the elevations – eg planters, operable shading devices, variety of material types, colours etc.  This detail may be in the drawings already but needs to be clearly identified to make sure that subsequent project management cost cutting does not happen to the detriment of the architectural quality.  Brewster Hjorths, the Architects named on the drawings, have done work of a very good design standard.  However it can be a long way between the design drawings and the Construction Team once the building gets underway and cost savings have to be made. The quality of the design intention must be carried through and mandated in the approval by the JRPP.
·         Similarly, detailed landscaping plans should be provided before the design is approved by JRPP.  This is particularly relevant for the eastern boundary at the rear of the existing four level home units on Beecroft Rd, the Hannah St frontage and the southern boundary to the rear of the properties on Copeland Rd. A detailed plan of management and a landscape plan should be provided for the “natural” area vaguely shown on the south west portion of the site.
·         The detail of the disabled access to the Hannah St footpath has not been provided, and this deficiency should be satisfied before final approval, to ensure an adequate arrangement can be achieved.

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