Thursday, February 16, 2006

Westfield CBD Proposal goes on Exhibition


I attended the Council's information session held on Valentine's Day this week to give residents, businesses and the public the opportunity to learn more about the $430 million Development Application (DA) lodged by Westfield for CBD commercial and retail premises surrounding Centrepoint.

The City has placed the proposal on public exhibition until 7 March to enable the community and stakeholders to lodge submissions. Westfield is seeking development consent for the Centrepoint, Convention Centre, Imperial Arcade and Skygarden sites, including demolition of parts of the buildings and construction of a new commercial tower and basement parking.

There are a range of legitimate concerns including construction impacts (estimated to be spread over three years), car parking and traffic management and design issues. Consistent concerns are raised about the impact that a mega retail complex will have on the economic viability of neighbouring CBD shopping areas. One retailer from Bondi Junction pointed out his experience with that Westfield project. He noted that the economic impact report for the huge Bondi Junction Westfield development estimated a 3% negative impact upon the surrounding area. He claimed the figure is in fact closer to 30%. In response I am supporting an independent economic impact study to be undertaken. However - the question is; "what can Council do on this front?" At last night's meeting of the Paddington branch of the Liberal party it was suggested by one that the City of Sydney simply refuse the DA. That is reject the $430 million investment in the tired looking Centrepoint and Pitts Street Mall retail core of the CBD and effectively hand the decision to the courts. It should also be noted that Council is not the consent authority on this DA but rather it is the CSPC of which I am a member. I would welcome any feedback on this DA.

To view the full application, visit the CityÂ’s website.


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