Melrose Park North is a private housing developer's proposal to build a range of towering apartment blocks in Melrose Park, in conjunction with a re-zoning proposal by the City of Parramatta.
While not technically in the City of Ryde (CoR), it borders directly on the LGA boundary and the tens of thousands of new residents will inevitably rely on CoR infrastructure.
While inappropriate for a whole host of reasons, the proposed development's reliance on public transport plans, which have since been cut by the State Government, seem particularly ludicrous to me.
While I have no direct say on the development, I've made a submission against the proposal which you can read below.
I'd like to offer my sincere thanks to the members of our community who have been fighting against this development since day one. While the fight is not over, many people have mobilised to fight against this development.
I'll continue to keep you posted.
To whom it may concern,
The following is a submission concerning the Melrose Park North Development proposal currently on exhibition. Given the proximity of the proposed site to the City of Ryde Local Government Area (LGA), any high-density development will have immediate and long-term consequences for the socio-spatial and transport quality of the surrounding area. My office has received significant negative feedback from both residents and community groups regarding the inappropriate nature of the proposed development.
In summary, I believe the proposed development is highly inappropriate given:
1. The range of impacts linked to the proposed height and floor space ratios.
2. The increase of traffic into the Ryde LGA transport links and greater region.
3. The considerable increased use of infrastructure within the Ryde LGA without
any financial contribution to enhance said infrastructure.
The proposed site is a former light industrial area with little residential public infrastructure, surrounded by low density well-established suburban housing to the north, west and east, into the Ryde LGA. Currently, zoning to the north of the precinct has a height limit of eight storeys and is surrounded by amenable landscaping. The proposed changes to zoning will allow for the construction of twenty-four storey towers throughout the site without any State-level investment in the accompanying infrastructure, nor any investment into the Ryde LGA.
The high-density tower blocks will be completely out of character with the surrounding built form and the impact of approximately eleven thousand new dwellings will worsen the traffic flows of an already poorly resourced space. All tower blocks will overlook the surrounding suburbs of Melrose Park, from Andrew St to Cobham Ln and the streets behind Wharf Road, directly impacting the rest of the suburb.
Whilst a small section of additional green space along Wharf Rd is included in the plans, this small contribution to the open space is inadequate compensation for the additional patronage of eleven thousand new dwellings.
Furthermore, there is also a site closer to the Parramatta River (owned by Holdmark but not included in the current proposal) that is marked to be developed within the decade. Should the re-zoning be approved, a precedent of inappropriate development in the area will be set and property developers will have little impediment to the further overdevelopment of the Holdmark site.
There is currently sparse public infrastructure at this location, with limited public transport services. Although residents would welcome the addition of parkland, cafes and retail in the area, all the developer’s marketing material refers to either out-of-area, or formerly proposed and now-cancelled State infrastructure. For example, the Parramatta light rail (PLR) stage 2, a bridge across the river to Wentworth Point for buses and light rail, and increased bus services. These are all contingent upon NSW state government and as the PLR Stage 2 has been postponed, this will not be a viable option to offer residents in good faith. Furthermore, the NSW State Government already has a history of promising and then cancelling infrastructure promises, such as the proposed and now-cancelled Epping Bridge widening.
Further adding to the inappropriateness of the development, the Transport Management and Accessibility Plan (TMAP) relies heavily on several hypothetical infrastructure developments by the State Government, as well as suggesting only 500 and 700 car spots are needed at either end of the precinct. This seems to be a significant underestimation of the traffic impacts of 11,000 additional dwellings in an incredibly small precinct without any light rail, highlighting very questionable assumptions about the provided infrastructure. Contributing to the unsuitability of the proposal, the TMAP states that there is already significant traffic congestion at the Victoria Road signalised intersection with Wharf Road during peak hours (AM and PM). Due to residents already struggling with over-development in the
area, and to avoid the bottleneck at West Ryde, people are using Wharf Rd, Andrew St and Constitution Rd to transit through to Victoria Rd at Gladesville.
The project was first proposed under the assumption that the NSW State Government’s State Two Greater Parramatta light rail would proceed. It is now understood that the project has been indefinitely cancelled due to ‘funding restrictions’, and the area will not be receiving the much-needed investment of public transport as promised by the State Government. Further highlighting the lack of planning and future infrastructure provision for this site, the marketing for the Melrose North uses infrastructure in Ryde LGA as major selling points, including Meadowbank and West Ryde train stations, and Top Ryde Shopping Centre. As the travel distance is shorter into Ryde LGA (Top Ryde is 4.7km (9 min drive) as opposed to 7.3km (14 min drive) to Parramatta) it would be reasonable to conclude that people from the new development will be more inclined to travel into Ryde LGA for travel, shopping etc. Without considerable investment in public transport and local roads, a development of this scale will significantly increase the volume of traffic and increase pressure on Ryde LGA infrastructure without any contribution from the State or Parramatta Council.
Urban renewal and catering for population growth are a given in growing cities. I do however, object to the scale of this proposal particularly given it’s impact on the Ryde LGA. Residential towers of 24 storeys should be off the table unless there is already public transport infrastructure in place and a plan to invest significant amounts of money into improving infrastructure to be impacted by this proposal in the Ryde LGA.
Mayor Jerome Laxale
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