Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

The Hunters Hill Trust

The Hunters Hill Trust

Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

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|

Proposed rezoning could set a 6-storey precedent…

The owners of Montefiore Residential Care have asked Council to re-zone their massive Hunters Hill site between Barons Crescent and High Street from 2-storey Low Residential (8.5m height) to the recently created zone of SP2 Infrastructure (24m height)allowing buildings of 6 storeys or more. 
 
Montefiore’s Planning Proposal was published on Council’s website on 16 June but was sent straight to the Local Planning Panel (LPP) on 22 June.   Fortunately, the Panel reflected the community’s concerns and unanimously resolved not to support Council’s recommendation that the Planning Proposal be sent to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for a ‘Gateway Determination’.
 
The LPP’s resolution included the advice to Council that adequate time was needed for assessment of the contextual understanding of impacts on similar aged care sites within the Municipality and recommended wider community consultation.  In spite of this, and Council’s own Resolution ‘to hold a community meeting as soon as practicable after the lodgement of a Planning Proposal for the Montefiore site’, Council’s plan is to consult the community only after the Gateway Determination – by which time it is unlikely to be overturned.
 

Montefiore Hunters Hill

An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) is being convened at Council chambers on Tuesday 12 September 2023 at 6pm when a final decision to reject or support the Montefiore Proposal will be made.  This will be an opportunity to demonstrate the community’s concerns including the following:
 
1.   This rezoning could result in severe and permanent impacts across the whole of Hunters Hill LGA!  It could affect the low-rise residential streetscapes, character and amenity of our existing neighbourhoods.  Allowing this site to be zoned for height increases could set a precedent for the 7 other aged care sites, including seniors’ complexes in Woolwich Road, Ferdinand Street, Passy Avenue and Hunters Hill Village.
 
2.   Montefiore’s proposal would allow for buildings up to 24m in height to accommodate 144 one, two and three bedroom independent living apartments, whilst at the same time closing 126 existing residential aged care beds.  This at a time when the latest census data shows that our 85+ demographic is predicted to increase more than any other age group.
 
3.    With a planned 260+ space car park/loading dock with entrances in High Street and Barons Crescent directly opposite wildlife catchment areas and heritage listed Boronia Park, the extra traffic movements caused by the 24/7 operation of the new housing estate (currently only Stage 1) will result in more traffic disruption and congestion on all feeder roads including Ryde Road, Park Road, High Street and Pittwater Road and local roads already under pressure.
 
Even though arguments against the questionable use of the SP2 Infrastructure category to facilitate increased height were presented to Council and individual Councillors by representatives of the Community Action Association, who are pressing for a more moderate redevelopment consistent with the character of the local area, there has so far not been an adequate or properly considered response.
 
Council’s lack of transparency over this issue is unacceptable when it has apparently been in discussion with Montefiore for 17 months.  Releasing the  analysis of technical reports requested by the LPP only a few days before the EGM when the final decision will be made, is unreasonable and disrespectful to the community.

2023-09-05T14:52:18+10:00September 5, 2023|

Extending Woolwich Marina – not for the public good!

Woolwich Marina set to double in size obstructing waterways and public views of heritage items

 

The proposed Development Application DA2023-0094 for alterations and additions to the existing Woolwich Marina poses many serious issues including the following:

1. The site is located in the vicinity of a number of significant heritage items including State Heritage listed Kelly’s Bush and World Heritage listed Cockatoo Island within a conservation area, and this proposal will have serious implications for sensitive bushlands, parklands and waterways.

2. The development does not promote the equitable use of the Foreshores and Waterways Area as it seeks to double the size of the current Woolwich Marina to cater for private interests at the expense of the public good.

3. The visual impact of the planned extended marina is unacceptable as the larger numbers and dimensions of the boats to be catered for will partially obliterate the open water and views from public pathways and heritage sites.

4. The alienation of this busy stretch of water for the sailing community and the general public is unacceptable, and the safety implications of a reduced channel for ferries and boating, cannot be underestimated.

5. The resultant increase in traffic congestion through the peninsula with one road in and out, and the need for increased parking will place an unacceptable burden on the community.

The closing date for submission is 4pm on Friday 1st September.  The Trust’s submission strongly objecting to this project is here HHT Submission to DA2023-0094 Alterations & Additions to Woolwich Marina.   If, like us, you feel this proposal is not of benefit to the community, please send a short email in your own words to customerservice@huntershill.nsw.gov.au

2023-08-27T11:19:53+10:00August 25, 2023|

Tree quotas for new developments?

You may remember in our December 2022 Journal that we highlighted the continuing loss of our trees and suggested ways in which Council could discourage deliberate vandalism and slow the alarming loss of tree canopy on private land.    Subsequently, we wrote to Council on 11 Jan 2023  suggesting several ways in which Council could strengthen its Tree and Vegetation Management Policy, particularly in ‘Complying Development’ areas, where knockdown and rebuild projects tend to build to the fence lines, removing all trees and vegetation.

Therefore we were very pleased to read in the Sydney Morning Herald of 30 July 2023 that Woollahra Council –  who have experienced similar problems with a spate of knockdown/rebuilds destroying established gardens and historic trees –  have now produced an ‘Urban Forest Strategy’ that clearly lays out their new greening rules to prevent over development at the expense of green space. Their very inclusive Council invites residents to provide feedback https://yoursay.woollahra.nsw.gov.au/ufs – an excellent initiative and a great example of what can be done.

 
We understand that our Council has completed a Street Tree Management Plan which is a good start but the greatest threat currently is from trees being removed, often illegally, from private land.  Therefore an initiative like Woollahra’s could help combat this problem.  The suggestion to implement something similar for Hunters Hill has been made to Council and we await their response.

2023-08-25T10:12:38+10:00August 19, 2023|

What’s the hold-up?

Now at the end of the sixth week of stopped work at Figtree Park, we are asking why Council has not been able to progress this job? With such a huge sum of money at their disposal, the community would rightly expect a fully resourced and well planned process.
 
So what’s the delay? There are many local families, dog walkers, office workers and elderly people who have been denied use of this park, who are very unhappy about the delay and the resulting extra time it will now take until this much-loved amenity is restored.
 
After enquiring why there has been no work for so long, one of our members finally received an email to say that “preliminary investigations are underway” and “work will re-commence in August”. After nearly 18 months of planning the question we are asking is, why would Council still be carrying out ‘preliminary investigations’?

2023-08-27T11:09:58+10:00August 19, 2023|

Come and see us at Moocooboola on Sunday 6 August!

Come and see us at this year’s Moocooboola Festival being held at Boronia Park Ovals, Cnr Park and Ryde Roads from 10am – 4pm. We’re on Stand No. D7 together with our friends, The Happy Hens.    Pop by and say hello and check out our beautiful high quality tea towels.
You can also pick up a copy of our stunning publication ‘The Heritage of Hunters Hill’ a perfect present for that hard-to-buy-for friend or relative!  

The Heritage of Hunters Hill   Edition 5

This book was first published in 1969 and is now printed in full colour.  It features detailed information on almost 500 buildings of Hunters Hill in their historical contexts and landscape settings.
 
Also available from the following local outlets:
 
 –  Hunters Hill Post Office, 32 Alexandra Street
 – Village Florist and Wishbone, Garibaldi Square, Hunters Hill
 
or to obtain a copy by post please email huntershilltrust@gmail.com

 

 

 

2023-08-19T16:37:19+10:00August 3, 2023|
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