Thursday, 25 July 2013

OGH planning controls soon

The controversial issue of the heights of commercial and residential towers in the Parramatta CBD and their impact on Old Government House and Doman, in Parramatta Park, may soon be resolved.
The issue is of concern to buildings currently under construction or imminent, or developers wanting to build and invest in the CBD.
“When the Old Government House site was listed in 2009 as part of eleven Australian convict sites on the UNESCO World Heritage Register, without thought to its impact on Parramatta, it then came under the Australian Government’s Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act,” a Parramatta City Council statement said.
This law requires all activities likely to have a significant impact on the world heritage values of Old Government House and Domain, including development, be referred to the Federal Government for approval.
“There’s been much uncertainty around this process, with no guidelines to help property developers understand the potential impacts their developments may have on the world heritage values of Old Government House and Domain.”
Council said a technical study, which has been carried out to resolve the issue, identified that development in only a very small area of the Parramatta CBD would likely have significant impact on the world heritage values of Old Government House and Domain.
Council said it has been working with the state and federal governments to provide certainty for property developers in Parramatta CBD and [to] manage the impact of development on the world and national heritage listings of Old Government House and Domain 
To provide further certainty, a conservation agreement between the federal and state governments and council was being drafted, which would remove the need for referrals for developments within a specified area, as long as they complied with specified planning controls.
“Without the technical report and a conservation agreement, the current unsatisfactory situation would continue where there are no guidelines and no certainty around how developers should meet requirements of the EPBC Act,” council said
Council recognises the importance of Parramatta’s heritage and the status of Old Government House and Domain under its world and national heritage listings [and] at the same time, we need to ensure that the City of Parramatta can reach its development potential and there is certainty for developers wanting to build and invest in our city,” council said.
The draft controls would be placed on public exhibition once endorsed by council.“That would be an opportunity for land owners, developers and the community to have their say before the controls are finalised This was expected to occur in the coming months, council said.

Council supports legal campaign

The Parramatta legal community plans to mount a campaign promoting the role of Parramatta as the major judicial and legal services centre for Greater Western Sydney. The essence of the campaign is to seek greater use of the existing legal facilities in Parramatta.

The Parramatta Access Justice Campaign seeks
a) Greater use of the existing 13 Federal Courts facilities through the engagement of additional Family Court Judges;
b) The appointment of up to six Federal Court Magistrates to the Parramatta Federal Courts
c) The inclusion of Parramatta in the circuit for Federal Court Judges hearing federal matters in this region
d) The establishment of a permanent NSW Supreme Court in Parramatta and the appointment of up to six Supreme Court Judges to be based at Parramatta.

The campaign strategy would be constructed around building support across the region from business, both legal and accounting firms, business chambers, local government, state and federal MP’s in Western Sydney, a council report said.

The campaign would include case studies to demonstrate the cost reductions of hearing matters in Parramatta rather than Sydney CBD.

“Successful implementation of the proposal would have flow on employment growth benefits as related legal services and support businesses would also be likely to relocate to the city,” the reprt said

“The range of legal specialties would be increased, for example, growth in commercial law practices”.
Considerable business and public benefits would result council said: “Instead of regional businesses having to travel into the city to seek legal services and access to the courts, these would be accessible within much shorter commutes.

“Western Sydney residents who are jury members and or appearing in courts would have far shorter travel times to attend courts in Parramatta, rather than Sydney.The potential economic and social benefits suggest that this is a project which should attract council support,”

Council resolved to contribute $15,000 from the city strategy and economic development budgets

Properties for sale

Expressions of interest (EOI) have been called for the head office of Sydney Water, in the Parramatta CBD. Completed in 2009, it has approximately 23,331 square metres of commercial space. It is located adjacent to Parramatta City Council's $11.6 billion Parramatta Square project. EOIs have been called also for an office building, at 91 Phillip Street, in the CBD. It has a net lettable area of 5635 square metres.