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The Canterbury precinct has to date experienced significant redevelopment of its industrial areas and commercial sites along New Canterbury Rd, however residential areas have largely been spared significant change.

 

Under the urban renewal plans, this will no longer be the case with many hundreds of the precinct’s homes to be demolished under the plans. Streets clustered around the now redeveloped industrial areas and village centre north of the Cooks River will see the most significant change, including current family home low density streets such as Tincombe and Robert Sts, where streets currently containing single-storey homes are now proposed to be lined with unit blocks between 19-25 storeys high.

 

To put this into perspective - this is the equivalent of putting a series of skyscrapers as high as the Blues Point Tower into what are currently low-scale family home streets. It is questionable whether this level of Gold Coast-style development of low-density areas has previously been attempted in Sydney – even in the 1960s and 1970s.

 

Low-density John St, which is opposite Canterbury racecourse, will also have towers up to 18 storeys while streets to the east of the railway station will be transformed into canyons of eight-storey unit blocks. What’s more, high-density development will jump the Cooks River and transform currently untouched low-density streets in the southern part of the suburb, including streets such as Emu, Waratah and Berna Sts where five-storey unit blocks are now proposed.

Subdivision plans show these streets were first subdivided in 1889 – before the railway line was even constructed in 1895. The area at the time was listed as Silver Park. These five-storey unit blocks are also proposed in Fore St, threatening two heritage-listed homes designed by famous 19th century architect Varney Parkes. One of these homes is a State heritage-listed former convent – which was purchased by Australian’s only Catholic Saint Mary MacKillop in 1901.

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Tincombe St at Canterbury, proposed for development up to 25-storeys on either side