Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

The Hunters Hill Trust

The Hunters Hill Trust

Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

Life + Design with Tim Ross

Come and join us for our Members’ Evening and AGM on Thursday 27 June from 6.30pm at the RSL Hall, 56 Alexandra St, Hunters Hill. As usual this is a special evening for our members and will be a great opportunity to meet with friends and enjoy some good conversation over wine and nibbles.
 
We’re delighted that our guest speaker this year will be local celebrity Tim Ross.
 
Comedian, writer, television presenter and professional architecture nerd, Tim will share his thought-provoking and often hilarious journey on the power of architecture to shape our lives.
 
Tim will also share important lessons on how radical ideas for living in the past can help us reimagine how we will live in the future.
 
After a short AGM, Tim’s presentation will start at 7pm and if you haven’t already done so, please RSVP to huntershilltrust@gmail.com by Thursday 20th June to secure your place!

2024-06-18T10:17:24+10:00June 18, 2024|

Update on Figtree Park

We’re pleased to report that finally, after 12 months, the Park is open, although minus the toilet block still to be installed. Locals are relieved to get their park back.
 
We’re delighted that the Trust’s involvement in preventing the cutting down of 37 trees, has been hugely beneficial to the final result (see our previous posts).    Luckily the independent Local Planning Panel, agreed with the community and twice rejected Council’s DAs to remove trees.  In their final ruling on 17 March 2023, they were unanimous in their decision that this was not in the public interest!
 
The outcome is a win for all.    The trees will now provide some very welcome areas of shade in summer especially necessary in light of the increased paving and expansive concrete at the entry.
 
The Trust has always strongly advocated for a playground and we’re delighted that this has finally been realised.   There are obviously still some problems with drainage that needs rectifying and the absence of planted barriers at the boundaries, particularly along Matthew Street, will be a concern for some families with young children.
 
The $4.75m of public money which originally included $2.25m for the purchase of 2 Ryde Road (not permitted under the grant) has potentially given rise to a surplus, but questions regarding delays and costings at Council’s 25th March meeting, resulted in the public gallery being cleared and discussions held behind closed doors.
 
Residents are entitled to know how public money has been spent and the Trust will be requesting Council’s full transparency in this.

2024-06-17T20:34:52+10:00June 17, 2024|

We must have transparency and accountability over sale of our public lands

Yet another issue regarding so-called ‘Remnant Land’ has raised its head (see our previous post dated 1 October 2022) with Council’s plans to dispose of an approx 834sqm parcel of public waterfront land (the Joubert Street South Road Reserve) .

In a closed session at Council Meeting on 27 November 2023 a resolution was carried by the Mayor’s casting vote, to progress the sale of this incredibly valuable piece of foreshore for aminimum consideration” as contained in the valuation report.
 
The Valuation Report was not made public at this Meeting but the Trust has located the one prepared in 2019 for the proposal to lease the land Valuation of Road Reserve for 13 Euthella Ave.
 
Retention in public hands was included as an option

The Trust has written to Council with our Objection to this sale of a rare remnant of foreshore, which Council should be fighting to retain to help combat climate change and preserve public access to open green space, particularly as pressures from population density increase.
 
We dispute Council’s position that the land is only of value to the adjoining owner at 13 Euthella Avenue who currently leases the land for $20,000pa.    Historically there was access by stairs from Joubert Street South and, as a continuation of Joubert Street, it can provide public access to the waterfront adjacent to Tarban Creek Bridge.    There is also the potential which should be explored, for future increased public access from lands retained by the Department responsible for roads, via Wandella Avenue.
 
Council’s own requirement that public notices be provided in accordance with the NSW Roads Act of 1993, Local Government Act 1993 and the Hunter’s Hill Council Policy for Disposal of Council Land, does not yet appear to have occurred.
 
Council must be transparent and explore all options.   We will never afford to buy this land back, and once in private hands, the natural rock outcrop and trees cannot be guaranteed to survive.   Our preference is for Council to maintain this as a wildlife corridor for future generations.  However if it is decided that it must be sold, it should be offered for sale publicly for the maximum benefit of ratepayers.
 
A very relevant recent article mentioning the above was published in the TWT of 14 February 2024. Written by Councillor Jim Sanderson it is entitled Openness and Transparency are Essential for Local Communities:

2024-03-13T07:54:55+11:00March 12, 2024|

Woolwich Marina Expansion Rejected…!

We’re delighted that the Sydney North Planning Panel has now determined that the Development Application for the Woolwich Marina be refused. Their judgement dated 29 February 2024 is here SNPP decision Woolwich Marina Expansion.
 
Our post of 25 August 2023 below gives details of the proposed DA20230094 2C Margaret Street Woolwich, which was to expand the berthing facilities from 45 to 79 berths to cater for vessels up to 35m in length.
 
Council had prepared a comprehensive Assessment and recommended refusal of the Application, and the Trust together with a group of outstanding community and sailing clubs representatives, spoke strongly against it.   The proponent may still proceed with an appeal or take it to the Land & Environment Court so there may be some way to go yet, but it’s very encouraging that the Sydney North Planning Panel recognised the major heritage, environmental and safety concerns that contributed to their decision.

2024-03-03T10:57:37+11:00March 3, 2024|

Update on State Government Proposals to Increase Housing Density

An update to our post of 15th February below in case you didn’t catch up with the discussions at Council’s Extraordinary meeting on Monday 19th February. There was a very good turnout of residents interested to hear how Council will be responding and here is a report of the meeting from the TWT:
 

2024-03-02T16:08:17+11:00March 2, 2024|

State Government Proposals to Increase Housing Density

The NSW Department of Planning, Housing & Infrastructure has proposed new changes to housing density across Sydney and outer regions.  This major policy shift on planning rules and regulations was published on 23 December 2023 with submissions due by 23 February 2024.
 
In response to the potentially alarming impacts on our suburbs, we are extremely concerned that this one-size-fits-all approach to increasing housing density will override Council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and heritage provisions and allow developers to bypass the rules that reflect the values and character of our Municipality.
 
Much of our LGA is a conservation area. However, increased density via significant changes to our planning standards will increase heights, result in loss of trees and tree canopy, increase traffic congestion and will most definitely alter the look, character, liveability, environment and amenity of our municipality.
 
Council is holding an Extraordinary Council meeting on Monday 19th February 2024 at 6pm to consider the proposed reforms.  The predicted outcomes for residential areas are clearly detailed in Council’s Meeting Agenda on page 3.  Council’s proposed submission is on page 7 and maps showing the affected areas – almost the whole of the Hunters Hill Municipality – are from page 55.   Some examples of the new rules are:

  • Dual occupancy can now be on land as small as 450sqm (currently 700sqm in the LEP) with a building height of 9.5m.
  • Building heights of 21m will be allowed in Medium Density Residential areas within 400m of Employment or Mixed Use zones (ie Hunters Hill Village, Boronia Park, Gladesville Town Centre).
  • Proposed reductions in landscaping requirements on differing lot sizes – as little as 15%-30% in some cases, where currently the requirement is for 50%-60% – will have serious implications for our streetscape, tree canopy and green environment.
What you can do:

Go to the NSW Planning Portal and register your objection – however brief.  Suggestions for relevant talking points are:

  • A blanket approach to planning across all of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, is not suitable for all communities, particularly small communities like Hunters Hill, and is contrary to the Department’s own policies around “place-based” planning as the key to good design and healthy cities;
  • The proposals to introduce new Non-Refusal Standards will override Local Environmental Plans and lock out community views on the impact of development proposals;
  • The serious consequences of additional development on traffic congestion, existing road networks, waste services, schools and precious open space have not been considered.  A major overhaul of public transport will be required, as the limitations of our access roads will preclude any meaningful adjustments to cope with increased traffic flows.

Attend the Extraordinary Meeting at Council Chambers on Monday 19 February at 6pm.  
We have the opportunity to demonstrate the strength of feeling in the community.  If you would like to have your say, register by noon on Monday 19th at https://www.huntershill.nsw.gov.au/Council/Council-Meetings/Public-Participation
 
The Trust has always advocated to increase density through sensible measures such as infill housing, terraces, semi-detached homes and dual occupancy and where applicable, adaptive-reuse.   We also welcome affordable housing strategies – our LGA has the highest percentage of affordable housing in Sydney.   A developer bonus is already in force for apartments and shop-top housing for providing 10-15% affordable housing but these new proposals could allow even greater heights and floor space ratios.
 
We question the perceived wisdom that the only solution to housing shortages is increasing supply. Recent research has shown:

1) When all Sydney Councils are combined, there are 163,700 unoccupied dwellings in Sydney. (SMH 16 Jan 2024)
 
2) There are more than 75,000 dwellings across NSW dedicated as AirBnB (SMH 9 Feb 2024)
 
3) The level of immigration, although reducing, is placing undue pressure on the housing market (Alan Kohler: The Great Divide).
 
4) Developers are land banking until conditions are favourable and sometimes choosing to hold onto properties and drip-feed stock onto the market to maximise returns (Leith van Onselen: Developer land banking drives Australia’s housing shortage June 2023).  Anecdotally, it also now appears that developers are delaying projects to see what these new changes will mean for them and whether they can achieve additional yields.

Submissions can be made via the NSW Planning Portal by Friday 23 February.

 

2024-02-16T13:08:32+11:00February 15, 2024|

HHT Journal December 2023

‘Wybalena’ 3 Jeanneret Avenue, Woolwich

The Trust’s latest Journal for December 2023 is here  with the focus for this edition on heritage conservation areas and our precious green environment:

  • From the President’s Desktop
  • Do Conservation Areas Offer Adequate Protection?
  • Update on Trees:
    • Council’s Tree Policy
    • Significant Tree Register
    • Street Tree Audit
    • Loss of Trees
  • Latest News:
    • Electronic Billboard at the Church Street Overpass
    • Boronia Park Sports & Community Facility
    • Woolwich Marina Expansion
    • Montefiore Proposed Development
2023-12-31T10:32:41+11:00December 31, 2023|

Christmas at Wybalena!

What an amazing venue for our Christmas Party this year!  We were thrilled to be invited to ‘Wybalena’ one of our most historic and beautiful heritage sandstone houses and were very grateful to our hosts Melissa and Joe who opened their home to over 100 Trust members so that we could enjoy a Christmas get-together in this spectacular setting.
 

 
Built by Charles Jeanneret in 1874-75 who lived here with his wife and 11 children for 20 years, the house was described in 1878 as having nine rooms, which increased to fourteen by the following year and then by 1884, was described as a sixteen room stone house with two pavilions and a summer-house in 25 acres of land!
 
Our local historian and academic Dr Beverley Sherry treated us to a fascinating history of Charles Jeanneret, one of the early settlers of Hunters Hill and three-time Mayor, who was responsible for the building of many classic sandstone houses on the southern side of the peninsula in the late 1800s.   We also owe our exceptional heritage of trees to his vision when in 1870 under his direction, the Council introduced a tree policy, planting avenues of trees and giving away trees to residents on the proviso that they be planted near the street frontages.
 
Melissa and Joe regaled us with tales of their painstaking restoration journey to rescue much of the fabric of the house which had deteriorated over the years, acknowledging their responsibility as custodians of this local treasure.  The lengthy restoration meant replacing over 40 windows, numerous cedar doors and frames, balconies and stonework, all of which were in urgent need of attention. Their insistence on everything being restored faithfully to its original design using heritage stone masons and carpenters has hopefully ensured this beautiful home will last for another 100 years!
 
A few images below from a very special evening…..

2023-12-03T10:34:01+11:00November 18, 2023|

Spring in our suburbs….

Every so often we need to remind ourselves how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country!   Although the wider world is chaotic and fractured and our streets are sadly being changed with modest craftsman homes and mature gardens demolished to enable project houses to be built to the fence lines, we can still celebrate the stunning heritage and environment that we so often take for granted!  Here are just a few examples….

2023-11-19T08:04:41+11:00October 17, 2023|

Montefiore Planning Proposal Rejected!

Further to our post below regarding Council’s Extraordinary General Meeting on Tuesday 12 September to decide whether or not to support Montefiore’s Planning Proposal – we’re delighted to report that Councillors voted 5 to 2 against sending the Proposal through to the Department of Planning’s Gateway Determination.
 
Many speakers pointed to the deficiencies in the Proposal which fell far short of Planning Department guidelines for a Gateway Determination, even though Council’s own report had also identified some of these issues while still recommending that the Proposal was ‘adequate’!
 
Among the serious problems raised were the questionable use of the SP2 Infrastructure category in order to allow the increased 6-storey building height, the absence of community consultation and the lack of adherence to our Local Environmental Plan ‘to maintain and enhance the character and identity of established neighbourhoods in Hunters Hill by regulating the use and development of land’.
 
Individual Councillors were fully engaged with the debate which resulted in Councillor Williams’ motion that Council did not support the Planning Proposal for reasons including the lack of strategic merit, failure to meet site-specific merit, relevant Government guidelines or community expectations.
 
All credit is due to members of the Montefiore Community Action Association who spent many hours poring over hundreds of pages of documents to bring to light the deficiencies that informed the debate.  We are pleased to have been involved with this win for the community and look to the applicant to ensure that any subsequent Planning Proposal for this site will be much more sympathetic to the local character and heritage of our area.

2023-09-14T11:10:05+10:00September 14, 2023|
Go to Top