The m.ngr.ls – let’s call them for what they are – did not fool around … with the ink barely dry on the legislation!
Public housing apartment blocks at Waterloo in Sydney’s inner south.Pt Pearcehoto: Rober
Waterloo metro station plans to outpace housing redevelopment
The construction of large buildings around a new metro railway station at Waterloo in Sydney’s inner south will be fast tracked after planning for them was separated from the massive redevelopment of a nearby public housing estate.
The split means that the so-called metro quarter at Waterloo, above an underground railway station in the city’s $20 billion-plus metro project, will be completed as early as 2022, two years before the first trains are due to begin running on the second stage of the new rail line.
But the decision has sparked an outcry from community groups who argue that the acceleration of planning for the metro quarter will not give public housing tenants in the adjoining Waterloo estate enough time to be consulted on the major changes to their suburb.
Community group REDWatch said there was a rush to push the plans for the metro station development “through at any cost, with absolutely no regard for the vulnerable community” living nearby in the Waterloo estate.
“It is the trust in the planning system that gets broken every time they do something like this,” REDWatch spokesman Geoffrey Turnbull said.
“The decision has been made to decouple [planning for the metro quarter] because they want to push forward with the metro. They are trying to get as much money as they can [from over-station development] so they can offset the cost of the metro [to government].”
The metro quarter at Waterloo involves an over-station development that will comprise shops, new homes, community services and a plaza in an area bound by Botany Road, Cope, Raglan and Wellington streets. Properties have already been compulsorily acquired and buildings demolished for the precinct.
Plans for the much larger Waterloo estate redevelopment next door will result in 30-storey towers Matavai and Turanga, the four 16-storey blocks known as the Solander, Marton, Banks and Cook buildings, and a number of walk-up flats being demolished.
That redevelopment of about 13 hectares of land owned by the government and mainly used for social housing will occur over 15 to 20 years.
UrbanGrowth, the government-owned development agency, and Transport for NSW said in a joint statement that community consultation on the metro quarter would be undertaken first, followed by consultation on the Waterloo social housing estate.
They said the community would be shown concept plans for an integrated station development at Waterloo and how it “benefits and connects” to the neighbouring Waterloo estate, as part of the next phase of consultation over the next two months.
The Department of Family and Community Services said more than 1570 people took part in consultation late last year, and a report detailing the feedback was published last week.
A spokesman said the community would be “given an appropriate amount ot time” before the next phase of consultation in early July, which would help form a master plan for the Waterloo redevelopment precinct that “reflects the communities’ needs and hopes”.
Waterloo is one of four sites, including Martin Place and Pitt Street in Sydney’s CBD, and North Sydney and Crows Nest, where large mixed-use developments will occur above metro stations on the new rail line that extends from Chatswood to Bankstown.
The government has proposed allowing for a tower of up to 42 storeys above the Victoria Cross station in North Sydney, which will make it one of the tallest on the north shore.