Modification 8 is "not in the public interest" according to the City of Sydney, which objects to lack of public open space and affordable housing under the proposed changes.
Lend Lease’s proposed changes to the concept plan for the Barangaroo South development have met with firm opposition from the City of Sydney.
The revised concept plan that goes by the name of Modification 8 was submitted by Lend Lease to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment in March, following consultation with Pritzker-prize winning architect Renzo Piano on the design of its residential towers.
The City of Sydney has responded with a 42-page submission to the department that is highly critical of the proposed amendments and calls for a new concept plan application.
The submission states flatly that “Modification 8 is not in the public interest” and that “the increased development yield does not correspond with any increased public amenity or public benefit commensurate with private gain to the proponents.”
The City of Sydney’s chief objection is to Lend Lease’s proposal to move its landmark Crown Hotel tower from a pier on the harbour to a foreshore location that had previously been designated for use as public parkland.
While Lend Lease’s contends that the move will retain the 52 per cent public space stipulated for the Barangaroo project as a whole, the council considers this to be a disingenuous claim based on the miscategorisation of roads as a form of open space.
“MOD 8 reduces the quality and quantity of public open space,” said the council. “The modification includes an increased width for Globe Street and the introduction of a new vehicular road to service the casino/hotel tower. These new roads are included in the calculation for public open spaces but effectively represent a reduction in the amount of usable public open space.”
The council also has misgivings about the size of the tower and its potential impact on iconic sites within the vicinity, including the Sydney Observatory and Sydney Harbour, citing in particular a Statement of Heritage Impact produced by Tanner Kibble Denton Architects.
Leichardt Council has also raised concerns about the development’s impact on the surrounding area, stating in a submission that “the modification failed to provide adequate assessment of the proposal’s impact on the World heritage-listed Sydney Opera House.”
For these reasons the council recommends that “a more appropriate alternative location should be pursued for the casino/hotel tower so that it is located within the Barangaroo tower backdrop.”
Other criticisms levelled by the council at Modification 8 include poor integration of the urban park into the surrounding street grid and roads, and the provision of insufficient amounts of affordable housing for workers.
Under Modification 8 only 2.3 per cent of the gross floor area of residential development is set aside for affordable or social housing. This fall well short to the targets of 7.5 per cent for both affordable housing and social housing by 2030, as well as the minimum 10 per cent for key working housing.
In response these objections NSW minister for planning Rob Stokes has announced the appointment of an advisory panel chaired by state government architect Peter Poulet to conduct independent assessment of Barangaroo’s designs.
“Barangaroo’s significance and the high level of community interest requires that an appropriate level of scrutiny be applied to its design,” said Stokes.