High-rise apartment developments in Hurstville are being approved without new parks or provision for schools and the burden they place on public transport, State Parliament has heard.
Kogarah MP Chris Minns declared, “For God's sake, there must be some green space in Hurstville”.
“If the new civic precinct is full of architectural rock formations and ugly fountains, I will pull my hair out. Put some bloody buffalo grass on the ground…”
Mr Minns said “a grotesque example” was the recently-approved stage three of the East Quarter development, which will have 556 units.
[However] if we thought Hurstville was full, we ain't seen nothing yet,” he said.
“I have counted another nine major development applications pouring forth thousands of people into the suburb over the coming 12 months.”
Mr Minns said he thought Hurstville was “competing for the award for worst public planning in the western world”.
Planning authorities and those who were entrusted with development applications (DA) were “badly letting down the St George community”, he said.
“They are creating in many instances a high-rise hell and badly undermining community support for appropriate development, confidence in government administration and even support for immigration in general.
“I have seen how development done well works around the world, where we can have high-density areas surrounded by parks, public transport and schools big enough to educate our kids.
Mr Minns said 330 units were initially approved for stage three of East Quarter at 93 Forest Road before the number was increased to 556 units through a new DA, providing a windfall gain of up to $60 million “at the stroke of a pen”.
[The new DA said the initial application was made by “the former developer”].
Mr Minns said the developer would contribute only $1 million for community benefits under a voluntary planning agreement with the council.
“What choice did the chair of the Sydney South Planning Panel have when the local council folded like a cheap tent?” he said.
“I feel for the chair of the panel, Morris Iemma.
“He is the only panel member who, when assessing these developments, asks about stretched public services.”
Mr Minns said nearby Hurstville Public School would receive a contribution of $100,000.
“If the development means another 200 kids are about to enrol in the school, what possible good is $100,000 going to do for the school?” he said.
“My great fear is that the bad planning disease is about to spread into surrounding neighbourhoods and communities.”
Stage three of the East Quarter development has an estimated construction cost of $193 million.
It will include basement parking, retail shops, two podiums and four residential buildings on top of the podiums (two seven-storey towers, one 17-storey tower and one 18-storey tower)with 556 total units.
The decision by the Sydney South Planning Panel to approve the DA was unanimous.
The panel’s reasons included the development would add to the supply and choice of housing in a location with ready access to the services, amenities and metropolitan transport facilities available from Hurstville CBD and would complement its role as a Regional Centre.
The development met the requirements of the local environmental plan and was considered to be of appropriate scale and form adequately consistent with the planned character of the locality in which it is placed, the panel said.
“The proposed development, subject to the conditions imposed, will have no unacceptable adverse impacts on the natural or built environments including the amenity of adjacent and nearby residential premises, the operation of the local road system, the function of the adjacent rail corridor of the utility of the adjoining parkland,” the panel said.
The panel said “the proposed development is suitable use of the site and approval of the proposal is in the public interest”.