UPDATE: The Greens worked with the community to form the No Lewisham Towers residents action group. This group has combined with the local Council’s to win the first round, with the developer coming back with amended plans.
A developer wants to build multiple residential towers and a huge supermarket mall at the corner of Old Canterbury Road and Longport Streets Lewisham. The proposal is an outrageous overdevelopment of the site that will be detrimental to the local community. The Greens are opposed to this development and are campaigning against it. View our leaflet. Download a poster for your window.
A separate website has now been set up for the No Lewisham Towers campaign. www.nolewishamtowers.org
The Greens put to motions to Marrickville Council recently. Our motion for a master plan for the area was successful, but Labor Mayor Sam Iskandar used his casting vote to oppose a second motion stating Council’s opposition to the development and the use of Part 3A to bypass the community. Read all about the meeting on this blog entry.
The development is located here:
The Developer’s Plans
The developer’s proposal to the Department of Planning is available online.
The developer wants to build a total of 524 apartments in five separate towers. The proposed towers consist of:
- 14 storey tower – 126 flats – 13,440 square metres
- 14 storey tower – 140 flats – 12,040 sqm
- 12 storey tower – 108 flats – 5,220 sqm
- 6 storey tower – 90 flats – 7,650 sqm
- 6 storey tower – 60 flats – 5,380 sqm
The Supermarket Mall
The developer also proposes to build a supermarket mall of 26 shops and a total of 12,380 square metres. This includes
- supermarket – 3,345 square metres
- Liquor store – 1,594 sqm
- Fruit & Vegetable shop – 1,116 sqm
- Other retail shops – 3,605 sqm
The basement car parking
The proposal includes basement car parking for the retail and residential complex. This will cause a substantial increase in traffic and congestion in the Lewisham and Summer Hill areas.
Watch a presentation outlining the plans:
14 storey towers and 524 units is a massive overdevelopment – the surrounding community consists mainly of one and two storey residences. Lewisham does not have the infrastructure to cope with such an influx of people and cars in such an intensive development. Local residents will lose amenity due to this development.
Traffic congestion and pollution – 524 flats, a supermarket mall and basement car parking will generate significant amounts of traffic. Local streets will suffer increased congestion, noise, particle pollution and a lack of parking. The intersection at Old Canterbury Road and Railway Terrace is already heavily congested during peak hours. It will not function under the pressure such a large development will place on it.
Community disruption – Lewisham is currently a quite residential area. Building such massive towers and a supermarket mall will change the nature of the community. Construction of such a huge development will also cause severe disruption and inconvenience for local residents.
New precedents for building size – The proposed development is off-the-scale for building heights and size. If this development proceeds they will be the highest buildings in the Marrickville local government area. This means other developers will attempt to build larger, taller buildings in our community.
Local shopping strips hurt – Such a large amount of retail will affect the viability of local shopping strips such as Petersham, Dulwich Hill and Summer Hill shops. It will attract car based shoppers and our main streets will suffer as a result. Marrickville Metro hurt local shopping strips badly when it opened. This shopping centre is half the size of Marrickville Metro and will have a similar effect. Do you want your local shopping strip to be filled with struggling and empty shops?
The Cooks River to Iron Cove Greenway project – the Greenway project envisions a green corridor for cyclists, walkers and light rail running along the old goods line and linking the Cooks River to Iron Cove. The proposed development will build right up to the rail line and pose a significant obstacle for the continuity of the Greenway project.
The Greens put a notice of motion on the Lewisham development to Marrickville Council. The Council tied 6 – 6 on the motion, (5 Greens and Ind. Thanos for, 4 Labor and Ind. Macri and Ind. Hanna against) and the Labor Mayor, Sam Iskandar used his casting vote to vote the motion down.
Watch a presentation outlining The Greens’ concerns about this development: (please excuse the flashing screen at the beginning of this video)
Bypassing the local community – Part 3A
The developer has decided to bypass the local Council and community and apply straight to the state goverment’s Minister for Planning, Kristina Kenneally. They are able to do this under the controversial Part 3A of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
Part 3A was introduced by the NSW Labor government in 2005. It allows big developments to be declared ‘state significant’ which then allows them to be assessed and approved by the Minister for Planning. Locally elected councils and the community are bypassed in a process that lacks transparency.
Part 3A was widely seen as a reward to big developers who have made big donations to help fund the NSW Labor Party’s election campaigns. Property developers donated $9.9 million to the NSW Labor Party between 2002-2007.
According to the Department of Planning’s own figures, under Part 3A 295 of 296 applications were approved (that’s 99.6% of applications). That’s despite 14,000 public submissions being received against proposals. Clearly, Part 3A serves developers well.
The Greens believe that this development should be assessed and decided by the locally elected council – Marrickville Council. Local councillors know their community well and are directly responsible to the community.
The Lewisham site
Marrickville Council is currently in the processes of updating its Local Environment Plan (the master plan for the whole area). During this work the old industrial sites along the goodsline in Lewisham have been identified as an area for possible re-zoning and urban renewal. The Council was to produce a master plan for the entire area to ensure that it complements and contributes to the existing community.
The surrounding area generally consists of one or two storey residences. Building sizes between three and six storeys are considered appropriate for a residential redevelopment of the old industrial area of Lewisham. The fourteen and twelve storey towers in this proposal area ‘off the scale’ in terms of height and bulk. They would set new precedents for the Marrickville and Ashfield area.
Marrickville Council produced and adopted a comprehensive Urban Strategy in 2007. This strategy involved extensive community consultation. Lewisham was identified as a ‘neighbourhood centre’. Locating a major supermarket mall at Lewisham would make it an urban centre. However, Lewisham does not have the infrastructure to be an urban centre and it will result in sevre traffic congestion and loss of amenity for existing residents.
What you can do!
Carmel Tebbutt is the local member and is Deputy Premier. She has the power to stop this development. But she will only act if the community demands that she act. So it is up to you to let her know, as your repersentative, what you want her to do.
Contact the local member Carmel Tebbutt and ask her to protect the local community from this overdevelopment.
Carmel Tebbutt’s address is: 244 Illawarra Road, Marrickville NSW 2204.
Her email is: email@example.com
Her phone number is:
Attend the public meeting: 7pm, Wed 20 May at Summer Hill Community Centre, 131 Smith St Summer Hill. See the developer’s plans, air your concerns and show your opposition to this development.
The Donations and the Consultant
Over the past decade there has been an unhealthy connection between big developers donating to the Labor and Liberal Parties and pro-developer laws and decisions being made.
The community is cynical and has lost confidence in our planning system.
A check on democracy4sale.org reveals that the Lewisham developer “Demian Constructions” has donated over $20,000 dollars through its sister company “Demian Developments”.
Former senior Labor Minister Carl Scully is a consultant for the developer. He met with Marrickville Council staffon behalf of the developer prior to lodgement of the Part 3A application. Carl Scully is not known for his architectural knowledge, so presumably he has been hired for his contacts and influence within the NSW Labor government.
Alex Mitchell writes:
NSW Deputy Premier and Environment Minister Carmel Tebbutt and Planning Minister Kristina Keneally are heading for a showdown over a $150 million development in Tebbutt’s inner-city electorate of Marrickville.
Tebbutt is from the ALP’s Catholic left and Keneally from the Catholic right.
Tebbutt is married to federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and Keneally’s husband Ben is a senior NSW bureaucrat in charge of offloading the state-owned ferries to the private sector.
Keneally has “called in” a massive development proposed along Old Canterbury Road in Lewisham which is within the borders of Tebbutt’s electorate. She has made herself the final consent authority on the five-tower development which will include two 14-level towers, one 12-level tower, plus 524 residential units and a 9,000 square metre retail space for a supermarket, liquor store and 15 specialty shops.
The developer is a $1, one-share company called Demian Developments Pty Ltd which, according to Greens MP Sylvia Hale, has donated $20,000 to the NSW Labor Party since 2002. Certainly, the company is well-connected, as Ms Hale explained in the NSW Upper House.
“Accessing the Labor old mates’ network, Demian has engaged the former Minister for many things, Carl Scully, to argue its case to his former colleagues,” she told MPs.
Scully, a former Police Minister and Transport Minister, retired from parliament before the March 2007 state election after his ambition to be premier was dashed by his former factional associates, Joe Tripodi and Eddie Obeid.
This is not the first time that the Parramatta and Silverwater-based Demian group has been in the sights of the Greens. In March 2007 Ms Hale called on former Planning Minister Frank Sartor to block Bankstown Council’s rezoning application to allow the development company to build a five-storey commercial premises, gated community and marina on the site of the Riverlands Golf Course.
Two years later, the project remains log jammed and going nowhere, due to council objections.
According to ASIC records, the original sole director of the company was 46-year-old Charbel Demian, born in the Lebanese town of Koubayat.
Marrickville Council, with five Green councillors, four Labor and three independents, is deeply divided over the multi-million-dollar project. A Greens motion calling on Keneally to reject the development application was deadlocked six-all but the Labor mayor’s casting vote saw the motion lost.
Locals fear that the development will cause gridlock in the adjacent streets and lead to the ruin of many local family businesses.
With the Greens hopeful of winning Marrickville at the state election in March 2011, Tebbutt is under pressure to declare where she stands on the Demian project.