Maintaining Local Character Wins Over Future Vision For Pyrmont

The NSW Government is on a path to reject the future for the comfort of the existing neighbourhood character of Pyrmont says the Urban Taskforce.


“On the same day that the state government’s Independent Planning Commission rejected future plans for South St Leonards prepared by Lane Cove Council by preferring the existing character of the precinct the NSW Government through its Planning Department has rejected futuristic plans for the Star site in Pyrmont in favour of maintaining existing local character.” says Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson


“The Star proposal was to energise the Pyrmont Peninsular into a Global Waterfront Precinct but the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s recent determination dismisses the proposal for the future in favour of preserving the local character of Pyrmont. The report says the Star project would ‘adversely affect the established character of Pyrmont’. Just imagine if across Darling Harbour the Sydney CBD had stopped all development 100 years ago to protect the established character of the city as it was in those days before the arrival of the skyscraper.”


“It seems that the Guideline released by the Department of Planning in February 2019 titled ‘Local Character and Place Guideline,’ which includes no buildings above 3 floors, is now becoming the dominant determinant of planning in NSW. But the planning system should be about managing growth for the future population including the 725,000 new homes required over 20 years. We are told that Sydney will grow from 5 million people to 8 million people in 40 years time. Local character will have to change somewhere.”


“The Planning Department’s rejection of the Star proposal raises concerns about setting a precedent but this is exactly what has happened in the Sydney CBD continually over many years. The report talks about eroding the established and desired future character of Pyrmont but all large cities grow and change and this leads to a new desired future character.”


“The Department’s report includes an independent Design Advice from Professor Peter Webber who is critical that the building is connected to a Casino. He says ‘in Western Cities the highest and most prominent buildings were limited to those serving religious or civic functions,’ but we have moved on from the Middle Ages with cities like New York, London and Tokyo developing striking clusters of tall modern buildings.”


“While the Government’s report says it is avoiding setting a precedent in Pyrmont an even bigger system wide precedent seems to be developing with government decisions preferring existing local neighbourhood character over a robust future and this can only slow down development in NSW.”


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