The Town Planner – Beecroft Precinct,Hornsby Council,
PO Box 37,
Hornsby. NSW. 1630.
I attended the information evening to hear details from the architects on proposed changes to the Module site in Beecroft Village. My wife and I live across the road from the site and I have undertaken design aspects of small multi-unit developments in the past. I must say I was appalled at the design and logistic aspects the development architects presented on the night. Below are my major issues in point form.
1. Did they read the Council DCP? Their concept does not come close to the guidelines; sacrificed commercial space in favour of very small residential units.
2. Details were given that the 146 residential properties have a total of a 144 or 146 car spaces. Where are all the extra cars to be parked, already there is no parking within one kilometre of the railway station due to commuter parking.
3. MOST IMPORTANT: How is it acceptable for cars (from over 300 car spaces) and delivery trucks to have an entrance and exit from Hannah Street? This street is steep, has many pedestrians, both elderly and school age, and is not a main road even though it is a regular bus route to the railway station. Even now there are queues past the proposed entry/exit waiting for lights at Beecroft Road.
4. A few years ago I built a small café in a commercial zone and Council (not Hornsby) forced me to undertake a professional traffic survey, costing over $5,000. A traffic survey is imperative and I’m confident it will show that Hannah Street CANNOT handle this extra traffic. Keep in mind that there have been pedestrian fatalities already in Hannah Street.
5. Traffic entry from Hannah Street may be acceptable, however, every effort is to be made to secure an exit to Beecroft Road. After all, Beecroft Road is a main road designed to handle traffic. Left turn only !! Alternatively, encourage the Module owner to purchase the residential site currently for sale in Chapman Avenue and combine an exit from the Module site with an entry/exit for residential units on this site. Hannah Street exit will have limited visibility for pedestrians and the street CANNOT handle the congestion and safety aspects of an exit from over 300 car spaces. Beecroft Village also serves as a bus hub particularly for school students.
6. The architects say they have approached RMS on three occasions to have entry or exit onto Beecroft Road. Have they really tried to achieve this or are they just happy to have entry/exit on Hannah Street because this option is simply cost effective and convenient to their design?
7. During demolition and construction, all materials that will be transported by trucks MUST use Beecroft Road for access.
8. I suspect the architects spent little time in the Village, their only correct observation was that Hannah Street had nice ornamental pear trees in the street. Their only purpose of the meeting was to tell Council that “they consulted with residents”. In response to a question, one of the architects indicated that a three (3) bedroom unit would have a floor area of 100 sq metres !!! Really?
9. The architectural block design displayed does nothing to fit in with the village concept proposed in the DCP or that of those residents who attended the meeting. Locals are vocal that Beecroft Village have new buildings that are in a modern heritage style; not a rectangular, ultra modern block design. Hornsby Council has approved residential buildings with an excellent modern heritage design located in Wahroonga Village adjacent to the Post Office. The presence of a tiled roof section would be sympathetic with the Beecroft environment.
10. Where are the awnings over the footpath?
11. The Hannah Street façade is harsh and would benefit from more staggered areas, rather than a long façade. Also will shadow diagrams be prepared to show the effect on properties across the street and in the green areas of the site?
12. Hornsby Council has been strict with modifications to existing heritage buildings in Beecroft, hence should also be strong about new buildings, whether large or small.
13. A narrow, long walkway is proposed between the old Westpac building and the proposed Hannah Street building. This dark access way has potential after hours problems and may disappear when the old Westpac building is incorporated into the Module site. Vehicle access to the old Westpac site is in the architects plans.
It is my hope that Council can be strong and listen to those who live in, appreciate and respect the current lifestyle found in BEECROFT VILLAGE. The traffic issue has to be dealt with before approval or Council will have a disaster on their hands.