Metro and rail stations must maximise surrounding development: Urban Taskforce

Metro and rail stations must maximise surrounding development: Urban Taskforce
Metro and rail stations must maximise surrounding development: Urban Taskforce

GUEST OBSERVER

The route of the Sydney Metro must choose stations with the maximum potential for new development. In our submission on the Sydney Metro we have called for the selection of St Leonards and Waterloo as stations where there is excellent potential for new development.

We also believe that more development potential exists around Redfern Station particularly on the nearby Australian Technology Park site.

The Urban Taskforce has championed major development around railway stations as the best way to accommodate Sydney’s growing population. We therefore closely examine State Government proposals near railway stations to ensure that development is maximised.

In our submission on the Sydney Metro proposals we have called for a stronger role for the Department of Planning and Environment in ensuring all stations along the Metro pull their weight in terms of development potential. Where options are presented the Urban Taskforce has supported the station that is likely to generate the most amount of new development for both jobs and residential.

We prefer St Leonards over the village of Crows Nest for the Metro station as this will give greater support for lifting current development controls to allow more development. Currently three separate councils, Willoughby, Lane Cove and North Sydney, each have different controls for adjoining areas around St Leonards Station and this is leading to uncoordinated development. The State Government, possibly through the proposed Greater Sydney Commission, must take over planning control of the area surrounding St Leonards Station.

The Urban Taskforce supports the Waterloo metro station option over Sydney University as this can lead to major urban renewal. The large social housing precincts can be better integrated into a mixture of new private sector and social housing to create a new community around the station. Successive governments have put off the renewal of this massive estate and a new station can be the trigger that leads to real action.

Another lost opportunity for urban renewal is the under-development of sites around Redfern Station. The State government’s disposal process of the Australian Technology Park (ATP) is based on a low density for the precinct. Currently the ATP has the character of a half built Business Park with reasonably low buildings amongst swathes of open space. Clearly the precinct can become a vital, mixed use, cosmopolitan environment if the density of development is high enough.

The Australian Technology Park should not even be called a ‘park’ but should become an ‘urban village’ with far more people on the site. The adjacent Redfern Station is one of the busiest stations on the Sydney network and should therefore support significant surrounding density.

You can see the Urban Taskforce's submission on Sydney Metro-City & Southwest here.

Chris Johnson is chief executive of Urban Taskforce. He can be contacted here.

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Sydney Metro

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