Council not in support of modifications to planning proposal for Channel 9 site
27 September 2016
Willoughby Council has objected to the Modification request for the existing Concept Plan for development at 6-30 Artarmon Road, Willoughby (the former Channel 9 site), submitted by JBA Planning on behalf of LEPC9 to the Department of Planning and Environment.
Council’s objections are outlined in a draft submission to the Department of Planning & Environment, endorsed at Monday night’s Council meeting (Monday 26 September).
Council has identified numerous concerns with the proposed increase in height and density, the motivation for pursuing these increases, as well as a number of consequential issues.
In particular, Council contests the applicant’s claims that the primary benefits of the Modification and the revised scheme are an improvement “in all key planning and design measures” as well as significant additional public benefits:
- Design Excellence - this is not a new offering, as it is already a requirement under the existing Concept Approval. Design excellence is therefore not accepted as justification for an increase in number of dwellings, floor space ratio and height on the site.
- Public Benefit - Council does not consider the “significant additional public benefits” identified by the proponent as such, but rather, requirements to address impacts caused by the development.
For example, a contribution is offered for upgrades to the Artarmon Road / Willoughby Road intersection, although the need for the upgrade is triggered by the development. Other ‘public benefits’ such as a contribution to open space and local access fall far below Council’s agreed position for such contributions, and a provision of affordable housing is a requirement under the Willoughby Local Environment Plan- not an additional public benefit.
The proposed Modification also raises significant governance issues. The current Concept Plan Approval was the result of deliberations involving the local community, Council, the Planning and Assessment Commission, the Land and Environment Court and ultimately delivered an outcome endorsed by all parties. Council is concerned that the new proposal for intensification of development on the site will have ramifications for public confidence in the overall planning process. It will call into question the integrity of the planning system for the community who will be unlikely to invest in future consultation.
There are also legal implications given that Council is owner of a remaining portion of Scott Street, which provides access solely to the Channel 9 site. Council had resolved in regards the original Concept Plan to grant owners consent for Scott Street to be included in the redevelopment of the site, however Council has not given consent for the proposed Modification.
Council’s full draft submission can be viewed at www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au
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