Edward Mandla
Changes to Millers Point LEP

Published On: 03/11/2014

I am concerned with the motivations behind this proposal for Millers Point which has been hastily put together. This proposal may actually result in the opposite to the intended protection and preservation of the area. There are already more than adequate heritage controls in place to achieve the desired outcome. In fact, Millers Point has some of the strongest heritage protection in the state. In 2003, Millers Point Heritage Conservation Area became one of the first areas to be entirely listed on the State Heritage Register.

There are currently many vacant properties in need of restoration. These properties will be sold but the existing planning regulations and heritage conditions are adequate to achieve the required outcome. More important is to develop a streamlined and uniform approach to the deal with the number of development applications which will occur in a short time frame. The issues of conflict between heritage verses building regulations need to be resolved as they will be applicable to multiple DAs.

I make the following comments:

  1. Existing plans already provide sufficient safeguard to over development.
  2. We must recognise and encourage adaptive reuse; otherwise new buyers will abandon any plans to restore.
  3. External changes to building height limits proposed at 7 metres down from 9 metres is unnecessary since most of the housing stock already exceeds the 9 metre height in existing LEP/DCP.
  4. The proposed limitation of FSR to existing rather than 2.1 is unnecessary. Most buildings have very small parcels of land. Any additions if proposed are toward the rear of these properties mostly to allow for adaptive reuse and allow light and ventilation.
  5. Draft plans include individual properties interiors. This goes well beyond any existing requirements. Compliance costs and time to have any work done will increase. A new power point or curtain rod needs a DA with heritage impact statements etc. Also Heritage Office approval. These can take months or years to obtain.
  6. The draft prohibits any new wall openings meaning light cannot be increased to basement areas nor existing rooms be consolidated into modern configurations. Multiple outbuildings will not be able to be consolidated into one useable space.
  7. If restoration is made too hard, costly and delayed the area will be abandoned with vacant buildings falling into disrepair.

Millers Point needs renewal. Most buildings currently sit empty. We need to encourage renewal and not to over regulate to the extent the opposite will occur. A consistent streamlined process using existing regulations will achieve the same outcome.

I will be voting against this motion tonight and will be writing to the Minister to ask that she reject this proposal.

Edward Mandla
November 2014

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