Monday, March 3, 2014

BCCT Objection to augmented DA 545/2013

The Trust strongly objects to this amended development application, which now includes the former Westpac Bank site. As well as those points presented in our Trust message of 9 July below, this objection focuses on the following key issues:
1. While the mix of the units satisfies the DCP, the Trust is strongly objects to the predominance of one bedroom units. The Trust argues that under sec 79c of the EPAA the public's interest is not being addressed with the proposed mix. It would appear the one bedroom mix is targeting student accommodation and not the local community. One bedroom units will have the potential to become dormitory units meeting current demand for students attending nearby Macquarie University. However this demand is likely to shift, when the North West Rail Link is constructed and the loss of direct train link to Macquarie University. The need to catch 2 trains will have an adverse impact on student accommodation demand north of Epping. By contrast, the residential demand for 2 & 3 bedroom units will significantly increase as the local population ages in the Beecroft area. As a result, an ageing local population will tend to use the local shopping more than any student population. The Trust notes the proposed current predominance of one bedroom units is thus not in the public's interest, and would flow to less than optimum ongoing patronage of the local shops and village facilities intended.
2. The second issue relates to the amount of retailing in the complex. The proposed mix of retail and residential is adding to a critical shortage of local retail capacity that will affect the long term viability of the proposed complex. The proposed supermarket is larger than the present one, yet there is relatively little additional area for smaller retailers, compared to the Module. The proposed development does not reflect a viable retailing mass. The Trust notes the surrounding residential catchment has a strong unsatisfied demand for health services. The existing health services have developed spasmodically in existing retail premises that are not designed for accessible use. Also, due to an acute shortage of appropriate retail space, demand for health services has been absorbed by converting surrounding residential houses to doctors’ and similar health professional’s rooms; that is not satisfactory as they don't comply with the latest HAWS requirements. This lack of retail/health professional space in the proposed development is not in the public’s interest, pursuant to sec 17 c of the EPAA.
The Trust particularly notes that the objects of the EPA Act must be followed. They include:
(a) to encourage:
(i) the proper management, development and conservation of natural and artificial resources, including agricultural land, natural areas, forests, minerals, water, cities, towns and villages for the purpose of promoting the social and economic welfare of the community and a better environment,
(ii) the promotion and co-ordination of the orderly and economic use and development of land,
Clearly the proposed development fails to encourage the proper management, development and conservation of towns and villages for the purpose of promoting the social and economic welfare of the community and a better environment. Nor does it promote and co-ordinate the orderly and economic use and development of the land. This Trust believes that what has been proposed does not satisfy these essential objects. This DA must be refused as it stands.
The Trust seeks to continue working closely with Council and developers to achieve progressive redevelopment of the Beecroft Precinct that will achieve the vision we all aspire to, and which the community merits. The Trust will write further within a few days to augment its above objection.

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