1 September 2017
Planning madness: development up while line down
A decision by the NSW Government to force at least 10,000 new dwellings on the Bankstown line while it is being progressively shutdown will cause commuter hell, an alliance of community and resident groups said today.
The Sydenham to Bankstown Alliance criticised the government’s decision to bring forward private construction, including through changing the rules to encourage developer-initiated spot rezonings, while the line is shutdown to build a new privatised Metro line.
An analysis by the Sydenham to Bankstown Alliance shows that at least 10,000 new dwellings will be built along the Bankstown line between next year and 2024, specifically due to the government’s Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Strategy.
Marrickville will face the most pressure, with 2,430 homes built in this period, with Bankstown and Campsie facing an extra 1,800.
The wave of new homes will put massive pressure on the Bankstown line, which from 2019 to 2024 will be progressively shutdown.
Across 16 months of shutdowns, the Alliance estimates at least 35 million trips on the line will be delayed, with commuters expected to be forced on to bus services.
“Our revelations show the government itself acting as a property developer – not as a responsible manager of growth,” said Sydenham to Bankstown Alliance spokesman Peter Olive. “It is seeking to gorge itself on stamp duty to reduce the ridiculous $13 billion cost of this line”.
“Bankstown line commuters are already facing five years of unnecessary pain as the government hands over a railway line in perfect working order to overseas private operators.
“Existing commuters will be joined by as many as 30,000 new residents by 2024, as the government pushes new waves of development on the line at precisely the wrong time, putting property developer interests way ahead of those of the community,”
The revised Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Strategy was released on 25 June by Planning Minister Anthony Roberts. It is clear from the strategy that the government has been working closely with individual developers to craft planning controls for individual developments, which are now likely to be brought forward.
A $1 billion development proposal by Mirvac for one of inner-Sydney’s largest remaining development parcels – the 13 hectare Carrington Rd industrial estate at Marrickville. The draft strategy says the lodgement of a rezoning for this site is “imminent”.
A nine-storey development proposal (requiring a rezoning) at an industrial site which will overlook the local primary school at Hercules St, Dulwich Hill. This rezoning was deferred by Inner-West Council in late July, despite a staff recommendation to place it on public exhibition.
A proposal by property developer to rezone a row of single-storey Federation homes into development site for towers up to 18 storeys at Byrnes St, Marrickville
The possible development of Canterbury racecourse, along with land owned by the Australian Turf Club around the racecourse. The Australian Turf Club announced a deal this week to sell surplus racecourse land – again with developer Mirvac.
A “landmark tower” on government land above and near Lakemba station.
Senior officials from the Department of Planning and Environment have also told the community and councils that they will now be allowing developers to use the draft strategy released on 25 June to bring forward spot rezoning proposals.
This follows changes to the rules for developer-initiated rezonings in August last year, whch allowed developers to use a draft corridor strategy to push for rezonings, where no announcement has been made that the strategy will be re-exhibited. 
“This represents a change of tack by the NSW Government compared to its approach to developer-initiated rezonings around the initial 2015 strategy. In 2015 and 2016, the government refused to allow developers to use the draft strategy as a basis to over-rule council planning instruments, in respect to the community consultation process.
“This new approach means the whole corridor is now open to ad-hoc, unco-ordinated planning proposals and makes a mockery of the community consultation process.”
 See page 2 of the relevant planning circular at http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/~/media/FD1B27C0CD1346E5B8170B7D5D7B620B.ashx