The strip of shoreline along the north of Botany Bay should be transformed into Sydney’s equivalent of the French Riviera, according to Australia’s peak body for the property development sector.
The Urban Taskforce is pushing for the conversion of Brighton-Le-Sands into a fashionable resort-style residential hub, restoring to life the original vision for the area touted by Sydney's urban planners at the end of the 19th century.
"When Brighton-Le-Sands was originally developed in the 1880s it was seen as a resort destination rivalling England's Brighton and the French Riviera," said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson. "But the lofty ambitions were never realised and now is the time to make Brighton-Le-Sands a new lifestyle hot spot."
Tramway pioneer Thomas Saywell was responsible for promoting the idea of Brighton-Le-Sands as a popular seaside destination in the 1880s, with the construction of large-scale public swimming baths equipped with their own promenade.
The name of the suburb itself alludes to this grandiose original vision, with "Brighton" referring to the popular English beach resort and the addition of "Le-Sands" conferring it with a chic French air. The name of the main road adjacent to the waterfront - "The Grand Parade" serves as another sure sign of the unabashed ambitions of the suburb's founding developers.
Plans to develop light rail in the Sydney CBD could pave the way for the realisation of these long-dormant ambitions by improving the transport connection between Botany Bay and the city centre.
"The growing interest in light rail across the Sydney metropolitan area could be extended to a new light rail line from Wolli Creek station along the Grand Parade to Brighton-Le-Sands and back through Rockdale," said Johnson. "This would give residents an excellent public transport link to the massive number of jobs in the Sydney CBD."
The further development of residential property would help justify the expansion of key transportation infrastructure.
"The Urban Taskforce believes public transport infrastructure must be linked to significant new development to help with Sydney's growing new housing needs as well as making the public transport viable," Johnson said.
Brighton-Le-Sands is now ripe for redevelopment as a high-rise residential hub, given its scenic location by the seaside, Sydney's urgent need for more housing, and the rising preference evinced by the city's residents for denser suburbs.
A recent analysis of property price trends by Urban Taskforce indicates that Sydney residents increasingly prefer to live in high-density areas, irrespective of what region of the city they occupy.
The group's analysis based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found a positive correlation between population density and apartment prices in adjacent suburbs - whether they were situated close to the city, in the North Shore, or in the sprawling western suburbs.
The Urban Taskforce's vision for the area would involve the creation of approximately 10,000 new dwellings in a set of eight-storey buildings that overlook the beach. Within the local town centre, taller buildings rising to as high as 20 storeys could also be built in order to physically emphasise the area's role as a suburban hub.
The Urban Taskforce believes this development scenario would perfectly fit the bill of Sydney's current housing needs.
"The potential development of a new resort style precinct at Brighton-Le-Sands is an example of the need to find similar locations to house Sydney's growing population," said Johnson. "Over the next 40 to 50 years, in one generation, we will need to doublet he number of dwellings Sydney currently has, so every new opportunity to locate 10,000 new dwellings must be explored in detail."