Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Markets beginning to take off

The Parramatta Farmers Market, in the Church Street Mall every Friday is beginning to take off – at last.
Stallholders want to see more stalls, up from 25 to 40, to create more buzz. A council report noted the next stage of the development of the market would see additional stalls at the venue. This would occur upon the completion of a $4 million upgrade of the mall later this year.
Some stall holders want to extend the closing time from 2.00pm.
Anecdotal evidence indicates that a solid base of return customers is being built up. Respondents to a customer survey showed that just over half visit the markets weekly, 67 per cent visit the markets either weekly or a few times a month.
That 68 per cent of customers first discovered the markets by passing by is no surprise. The venue, outside the town hall, is without a doubt the busiest thoroughfare in the CBD with thousands of commuters on their way to and from the bus/tail interchange – the markets opened at 7.30am – CBD workers passing through on their way to Westfield at lunchtime, not to mention visitors to the city.
Lunchtime, as expected, is the busiest time of the day with the food stalls the most popular but a number of stallholders would like more variety, with dairy and meat the most products mentioned.
However, stallholders believe more effort could be spent on the marketing of the markets. Council said external advice would be sought to improve marketiong and promotional activities.
“The principal shopper group remains the local workforce and new, smarter techniques need to be developed to reach this group,” the council report said.

All in all 90 per cent of stallholders said the market was meeting expectations because of its location, it was well run by council and had growth potential

Parramatta: most liveable suburb

Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Cr John Chedid, today welcomed the release of a new Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) report which ranks Parramatta as the state’s most liveable suburb. 
The new report, “Building Up”, gives Parramatta a score of 135 points out of a possible 170 and highlights the City’s major public transport interchanges, close vicinity to major roads and vibrant retail opportunities as stand-out features.
“This is a very exciting time for Parramatta and Western Sydney as we build and grow this great City and region,” Cr Chedid said.
“Parramatta has a vibrant multicultural community, burgeoning food scene and an emerging arts hub.
“The City’s population is forecast to grow by over 40 per cent over the next two decades and Council is focused on planning for this growth and ensuring we have the best possible facilities and services to support it,” he said.
“This report shows Parramatta is truly stepping up as the business and economic capital of Western Sydney. We’re not interested in a ‘business as usual’ approach – we’re investing in the City’s infrastructure, reactivating the Parramatta River foreshore area and putting forward a long term vision for Parramatta.
“Our status as the state’s most liveable suburb can be boosted even further by initiatives such a Western Sydney light rail network. As Lord Mayor, I will keep lobbying for government and private sector support for this much-needed project.  
“Just this month, work commenced to complete a 12 kilometre off-road pathway between Westmead and Meadowbank. When that pathway is complete, a University of Western Sydney student living in Westmead can walk or ride on the off-road pathway all the way to the Rydalmere campus. The same goes for Parramatta workers who live on suburbs along the pathway. 
“The revamp of Church St Mall, the City’s most recognisable thoroughfare is also well underway, ensuring that residents, workers and visitors will get to enjoy a new modern public space by the end of this year. 
“As the UDIA’s report points out, Parramatta offers a prime example of strategic planning and we’re delighted this is being recognised.”

Approval to increase height of towers

Meriton Apartments has received approval to increase the height of two towers on the former David Jones site, in the Parramatta CBD, boosting the number of apartments from 390 to 644, and increase of 65 per cent.
Meriton’s initial application was for towers of 25 and 32 storeys, including plant levels, respectively; a further proposal was for the height of the 25-storey east tower to increase to 32 storeys and the 32-storey east tower to reach 50 storeys.
The east tower will contain 266 serviced apartments and the west tower will contain 378 residential apartments.
The two towers will be built on a 4-storey – up one storey – podium.
The retail component of the project, identified as Altitude on the banks of the Parramatta River, will contain 8 tenancies plus a supermarket; parking will be for 709 vehicles.
Parramatta City Council advised the NSW Planning Assessment Commission – the determination authority – it supported approval of the application.
The Director General’s report noted that the application was consistent with council’s strategic vision for the Parramatta CBD and would strengthen Parramatta’s role as Sydney’s premier regional city and second CBD as outlined in the Metropolitan Strategy.

Elsewhere in the CBD, Meriton has withdrawn a DA for the demolition and construction of two 13 storey buildings containing retail tenancies and 146 units, at an estimated cost of approximately $50 million, in addition to those on the site of the Meriton Apartments, on the corner of George and Charles streets, in the CBD,